When Juventus signed Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax in the summer of 2019, a statement was sent to the rest of Europe that the in-demand defender signed for the Bianconeri ahead of the likes of Barcelona and other European giants. While the Dutchman has performed admirably at the Allianz Stadium, the reluctance to sign a contract extension has seen him constantly being linked with a move away from the club. With Giorgio Chiellini gone and Leonardo Bonucci 35, Juventus will be desperate to ward off interest from other European giants for the Netherlands centre-half.
De Ligt made seven appearances for Juventus in the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League where he played a total of 625 minutes. He did not score or assist even once during the competition. The Dutchman was fairly involved in the game with an average of over 45 pass attempts per 90 at a more than respectable pass accuracy of 89.52%. He made 1.36 progressive runs per 90, which ranked him in the upper 40% among defenders. De Ligt also generated 0.27 smart passes per 90, which put him in the upper quartile.
While de Ligt was a good passer of the ball for Juventus, it was his defensive ability and numbers that elevated him. The Dutchman may have attempted only 10.88 defensive actions per 90, but he won a whopping 88.75% of them, which ranked him in the top quintile. It is a similar story in defensive duels as his win rate of 35.9% was better than 81% of the defenders. Using his tall frame of 188 cm, de Ligt attempted 4.76 aerial duels per 90 and had a success rate of 65.71%. He also recovered more than three-quarters of the loose ball duels he attempted. Additionally, he made 5.57 interceptions per 90 and over 10 recoveries per 90.
De Ligt won most of his duels in the area between just outside his penalty area and the midfield. The type of duel he won the most were aerial duels, followed by ground-based defending duels and 50/50s. He attempted 8.7 pressures per 90, 2.17 tackles and interceptions per 90, 1.59 blocks per 90 and an astonishing 4.64 clearances per 90.
De Ligt was most active in the region between the midfield and outside Juventus’s penalty area, as seen in the above heat map. He did occasionally make runs into the attacking third whenever required. The Dutchman made 2.61 progressive carries per 90 and 3.04 balls into the final third per 90.
Matthijs de Ligt has been among the top five central defenders in the Serie A since his arrival from Ajax in 2019. With Leonardo Bonucci ageing and Giorgio Chiellini already departed for LAFC in the MLS, de Ligt should be the undisputed star defender at the Allianz Stadium and should even be the club captain in the future.