Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt has capped a memorable season by being named as Europe’s best young player.
De Ligt will receive the Golden Boy trophy in Turin on Monday night after being selected by a panel of international football writers. Other contenders included former Ajax team-mate Justin Kluivert, now with Roma, as well as Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Real Madrid teenager Vinicius Junior.
Last year’s winner of the Tuttosport award, French star Kylian Mbappé, was not on the shortlist despite playing a key role in his country’s World Cup victory.
De Ligt is the first Dutch player to be chosen since Rafael van der Vaart claimed the inaugural trophy in 2003. Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba and Wayne Rooney are also among the previous winners.
Born less than five months before the millennium, De Ligt has been a fixture in the Ajax side since the start of the 2017/18 season. He became the youngest player ever to feature in a European final when he lined up against Manchester United in the Europa League in May 2018.
He has also won 17 international caps and featured in the Netherlands’ recent UEFA Nations League wins against Germany and France.
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