Matthijs de Ligt has admitted he had already decided to move to Juventus before Cristiano Ronaldo spoke to him at the Nations League finals.
The Dutch defender, one of the most sought after prospects in world football this summer, signed with the Serie A giants earlier this week in a deal worth £67.8million.
One of the most intriguing details of his transfer saga, however, came when Ronaldo encouraged him to move to Turin after Portugal’s win over Holland in June but De Ligt insists that conversation had nothing to do with his eventual transfer.
‘I’m still young but I feel like I’ve got a lot of experience for a 19-year-old, that’s why I made this move to gain more experience and to learn from the players here,’ he said in a press conference on Friday.
‘It’s a big step, my first outside of my home country. I was really honoured with how the Juventus fans welcomed me and I hope that I can give a lot back.
‘After the Nations League final I was already sure that I wanted to join Juventus, but it was still a big compliment to have Cristiano ask me to join here but it didn’t make the difference.
‘I have to get used to a new sporting culture here and a new sporting environment and I hope that I can give my best.’
De Ligt also revealed that all it took was a quick chat with manager Maurizio Sarri was enough to convince him that the footballing philosophy in Turin would match his own.
He added: ‘I spoke to Sarri on the phone before coming just to get to know each other.
‘He was one of the reasons that I wanted to join here, I’ve heard a lot of good things about him and I like his footballing philosophy and how he prepares his defence.
‘In Holland there is a lot of building from the back and defending high up the pitch. Italy is more about zonal marking and defending together, I think that Juve can help me and I can help them.
‘I’m 19, I can still improve and I want to do that. It’s important to work hard every day and to learn and I hope to become a better player.’
De Ligt, who played a starring role in Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-finals last season, also revealed he was a boyhood Juve fan. He believes the atmosphere among Juventus fans when playing there last season was also attractive.
The photo of me in a Juventus shirt was taken when I was about six or seven, at that time (Fabio) Cannavaro was a defender that I admired,’ he said. ‘I always had a good feeling about Juventus and I’ve always been a fan.
‘When I played here with Ajax I was really impressed with the atmosphere of the Allianz. There are four competitions and we want to win them all. This is the mentality of Juventus.
‘I came here because Italy is one of the most traditional countries for defenders. Juventus is a great forwards step for me. Pressure is normal in football and for me it’s not a problem. I will show what I’m capable of on the pitch.
‘Ajax was a younger environment and here I hope that I can learn from great champions like (Giorgio) Chiellini, (Gianluigi) Buffon, Cristiano (Ronaldo) and many others.’