MATTHIJS DE LIGT
At just 20, Matthijs de Ligt was already seeing his name cast into the list of football’s great defenders. His incredibly calm persona, a key attribute in being one of the game’s best tacklers, meant that he could go into any challenge with ease, while his aerial ability allowed him to protect his teammate’s goal and, of course, threaten that of the opposition’s. These factors along with his strength, speed and accurate passing saw him named 2018’s Golden Ball, while he also went on to claim the Eredivisie title and KNVB Cup in the 2018/19 campaign. Not only that, despite his age, de Ligt showed wisdom and leadership well beyond his years, resulting in him being named Ajax’s youngest ever captain at just 19 years of age. Upon joining Juventus, the Dutch defender revealed that he couldn’t wait to play alongside and learn from Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci in defence. He made his Serie A debut for Juventus against Napoli in August 2019.