Have you heard about Matthijs de Ligt?
The 18-year-old prevented Cristiano Ronaldo from having a single shot on target in Netherlands’ win over Portugal in Geneva.
Where do I recognise the name from?
Why haven’t I seen him play much?
Unless you are an avid spectator of the Eredivisie, you wouldn’t have seen much of De Ligt.
The 6ft 2in centre-back has been with Ajax since he was 9-years-old and made his professional debut for the club in 2016.
So, what’s he done?
De Ligt scored after 25 minutes of his Ajax debut, making him the club’s 2nd youngest goalscorer ever, just behind club legend Clarence Seedorf.
He made his international debut for Netherlands in March 2017, despite only having started two league games for Ajax.
He was the youngest Dutch debutant since Mauk Weber in 1931.
De Ligt was also the man who was adjudged not to have fouled Marcus Rashford in England’s win in Amsterdam.
It was definitely a pen, but nobody cares because it was only a friendly.
Is he good enough?
According to Liverpool defender and new Netherlands captain Virgil Van Dijk, he is.
Speaking to De Telegraaf, Van Dijk said: “Matthijs De Ligt is an excellent player, already mature for 18-years-old.
“‘Good enough is old enough’, they often say.
“Of course I do not know what options he has, but when I see how he plays for Holland, it does not matter if he leaves the Eredivise now or in two years, that’s up to him.”
Pretty solid endorsement.
How does he fit in at Ajax?
The defender is part of a talented crop of young players.
David Neres, Hakim Ziyech, Frenkie de Jong and Justin Kluivert have all been turning heads alongside De Ligt this season.
De Ligt has stepped up this season following Davinson Sanchez’s departure to Spurs.
His physicality and pace have made him one of the first names on the team-sheet.
Will he be on the move?
De Ligt’s contract with Ajax runs until 2021.
He has been tipped for a move to a European giant, with many scouts reportedly watching him this season.
In November, Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo labelled him as “The Chosen One” to join Barcelona in the summer.
He has also been linked with Real Madrid and Arsenal.
Now come on Matthijis, let Cristiano out of your pocket…
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