Matthijs de Ligt is particularly proud that he won the Kopa Trophy for the best player under the age of 21 on Monday evening. The defender of Juventus hopes to live up to the increased expectations quickly.

"This means a lot to me", said a proud De Ligt after the presentation at the Golden Ball Gala in Paris. "It is a great honor to win this prize in the presence of many major players. I am very happy with that and I will certainly enjoy it."

In the election of the French magazine France Football, the Oranje-international was preferred over, among others, Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund (second) and João Félix of Atlético Madrid (third), who recently received the Golden Boy Award - a similar election of the Italian Tuttosport - won.

"Many good talents were nominated who could also win, but of course I am happy that they voted for me", twenty-year-old De Ligt remained modest. "I don't know what the exact reason was that I won, but of course I had a good season."

De Ligt was one of the most important players of Ajax last season as captain, who won the doubles (national title and cup) and made history by reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League. Because of his performance, he forced a transfer to Juventus in the summer.

Kylian Mbappé presents Matthijs de Ligt his prize. (Photo: Pro Shots)

"It's going in the right direction"

Although he received the necessary criticism in his first matches for the 'Old Lady', De Ligt seems to be increasingly adapting to football in Serie A. "I want to improve myself every day and show what I am worth. I think that goes well now. "

De Ligt has played fifteen official games so far this season and played 90 minutes in each game. He made his first goal for Juventus in the 'Derby della Mole' in the beginning of November against fellow-countryman Torino (0-1 win).

The team of coach Maurizio Sarri, who suffered a loss of points against Sassuolo (2-2) on Sunday partly due to an error by De Ligt, continues the competition on Saturday with an away game against Lazio. Four days later, the Champions League match with Bayer Leverkusen is on the program.

De Ligt was also nominated for the Golden Ball, but he did not finish in the top ten. Lionel Messi won the prize for the sixth time and Virgil van Dijk finished second in the election, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.