Juve's Matthijs de Ligt and Cristiano Ronaldo
Juve's Matthijs de Ligt and Cristiano Ronaldo Image Credit: AFP

Young Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt admits he struggles to keep up with the ‘old man’ of the Old Lady — as Juve are affectionately known — as he keeps getting surprised by the fitness of veteran star striker Cristiano Ronaldo when he sees him in training.

Calling the Portuguese superstar as the best striker of his generation, 20-year-old De Ligt said that Ronaldo is a huge example for younger players.

“I always try to improve the way I play by watching him because even in training he has a crazy intensity and you wonder if he really is 35-years-old,” the Dutchman told Tuttosport.

De Ligt was all praise for his Juventus squad, which he joined this year from Ajax. De Ligt had led the Dutch side to a remarkable semi-final finish in the Champions League last year.

“We really have a good team, a lot of good guys. The most fun are the South Americans. Beside Ronaldo, I was impressed by Paulo Dybala and Rodrigo Bentancur: both players with an amazing technique. Rodrigo in particular is underestimated, he will have a great future ahead of him.”

Ronaldo is far from the oldest man on Juve’s roster and De Ligt also expressed admiration for veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. “Gigi could literally be my father ... he is 42. Can you imagine it,” he said. “The point is that if you see him playing you would say he is 30. He is a top guy and always available with me. I’m learning a lot from him.”