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De Ligt Denies CR7 Influence in Juve Move

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De Ligt Denies CR7 Influence in Juve Move

Matthijs de Ligt insists his €75 million (£68m/$84m) move to Juventus was driven by personal ambition, with Cristiano Ronaldo having no influence on his decision to head for Italy.

After seeing his future become the subject of much speculation over recent months, the Netherlands international has finally brought a long-running saga to a close.

The reigning Serie A champions have won the race for his signature, with a highly-rated 19-year-old opting to take on a new challenge in Turin after heading for the exits at Ajax.

It had been suggested that a chat with Portuguese superstar Ronaldo after the UEFA Nations League final in June helped to sway De Ligt’s thinking, but he insists that is not the case.

“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,” De Ligt told reporters at his first press conference as a Juve player.

“I came here because Italy is one of the most traditional countries for defenders. Juventus is a great forwards step for me.

“I spoke to [Maurizio] 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."