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Juve make De Ligt world’s most expensive defender

Matthijs de Ligt

Dutch central defender Matthijs de Ligt, one of the most coveted young players in world football, signed Thursday for Juventus from Ajax for a fee of 75 million euros ($84.2 million) plus add ons.

The 19-year-old agreed a five-year contract with the Italian champions.

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Juventus said in a statement the fee would be paid over five financial years, with “additional costs” of 10.5 million euros.

The combined fee makes De Ligt the world’s most expensive defender, surpassing the 84 million euros Liverpool paid to sign his Netherlands teammate Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton in 2018.

De Ligt is Juventus’ third most expensive signing after the 105 million euros they paid to buy Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid in 2018 and the 90-million-euro transfer of Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli in 2016.

De Ligt had also been linked with Manchester United, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain after his impressive performances for a young Ajax side that reached the Champions League semifinals last season.

His Ajax teammate, 22-year-old midfielder Frenkie de Jong, has already joined Barcelona.

In a deal hammered out by his powerful Italian-born Dutch agent Mino Raiola, De Ligt will earn a basic annual salary of 7.5 million euros that could reach 12 million euros with bonuses, according to reports in Italy.

“The sporting project proved decisive” in De Ligt’s decision to choose Juventus. “For a defender, Italy is always an ideal place.”

 

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