Matthijs de Ligt has revealed that a fascination with Italian football contributed to him opting for a €75 million (£68m/$84m) move to Juventus over a switch to England or Spain.
After several months of speculation, the 19-year-old has finally completed a big-money move to the Serie A champions.
Old Trafford and Camp Nou had been mooted as potential landing spots for the Netherlands international, with Manchester United and Barcelona reportedly keen, but the Allianz Stadium is his new home.
De Ligt will now get the opportunity to complete alongside the likes of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci with the Bianconeri, while operating in the same side as Cristiano Ronaldo.
The presence of such illustrious figures has helped to lure him to Turin, but the current holder of the prestigious Golden Boy award claims a desire to play in Italy played a major part in a big future call.
De Ligt told Ajax’s official website as he bids farewell to Amsterdam: “I have been fascinated by the Italian way of defending from an early age.
“Many of my idols from the past are also Italians. Such as [Paolo] Maldini, [Franco] Baresi, [Alessandro] Nesta, [Fabio] Cannavaro and [Gaetano] Scirea.
“When you talk about defenders, then you soon talk about those names.
“I actually fell in love with the Italian way of defending and I made a choice based on that.”
De Ligt’s displays at Ajax, which saw him become club captain while still in his teens, made him one of the most sought-after talents in world football.
He admits that the decision to leave his homeland has not been an easy one, but he is convinced that Juve are the best club for him at this stage of his career.
“It was a difficult choice,” De Ligt added.
“There were several options, but you always have to look what’s the best for you.
“Various factors play a role. For me it’s very important to know how much you are going to play and how much trust the club has in me.
“They also mentioned that they really wanted me. They saw a future for me and the they could improve me in certain areas.”