De Ligt: ‘Defending is an art form in Italy’

DeLigt-2105-Milan-TheoHernandez-epa

Matthijs de Ligt explains how much he has learned from 'master' Giorgio Chiellini at Juventus. ‘Defending is an art form in Italy.’

The Dutch international spoke to De Volkskrant about his experience with the Bianconeri.

“I’ve grown so much mentally and feel far more mature since I’ve been at Juventus,” said the defender.

Matthijs de Ligt explains how much he has learned from 'master' Giorgio Chiellini at Juventus. ‘Defending is an art form in Italy.’

The Dutch international spoke to De Volkskrant about his experience with the Bianconeri.

“I’ve grown so much mentally and feel far more mature since I’ve been at Juventus,” said the defender.

“I had to get used to a different style of football in Italy, the way the forwards move. When I was at Ajax, the focus was far more on the individual striker, whereas now I have to look at the zone too. Don’t always chase the man with the ball, but also keep an eye on the striker who is running into space. It’s all about evaluating the best option.

“Chiellini is a master in that sense. He has so much experience, I learned a great deal from him. Defending is an art form in Italy, it’s wonderful to be able to show what I can really do here. That was my objective.”

De Ligt has also learned from other veterans in Turin.

“The way Cristiano Ronaldo lives the sport, keeps himself in shape and is so motivated at the age of 36 is fantastic. The same goes for Chiellini and even Gigi Buffon at 43. They are all super professional.”

There are some extra pressures that come with playing in Italy, especially for a side like Juventus.

“In Holland, the fans are passionate and want their team to win, but it’s over once the final whistle blows. In Italy, three days later they are still talking about some penalty that wasn’t awarded. They think about football constantly.

“If your team loses against a rival, the fans experience a horrible week and we sense it too.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *