Juventus stars De Ligt and Ronaldo share similar mentality – Ajax CEO Van der Sar

Ronaldo De Ligt
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The Juventus team-mates have a special quality in common, according to the Ajax chief

Edwin van der Sar has compared Matthijs de Ligt to Cristiano Ronaldo, claiming they share a similar mentality to be among the world's best.

De Ligt captained the youthful Ajax side that reached the Champions League semi-finals last season, turning in impressive performances before joining Ronaldo at Serie A giants Juventus.

Van der Sar played a pivotal part in developing Erik ten Hag's team in his role as Ajax CEO, with prospects such as Frenkie de Jong and Donny van de Beek graduating through the club's famous youth system.

De Jong also left in the summer, having agreed a deal to join reigning La Liga champions Barcelona, and De Ligt was widely expected to follow suit.

However, he turned down interest from the Blaugrana, as well as Paris Saint-Germain and others to move to Italy with the Bianconeri.

Netherlands international De Ligt has turned in some indifferent performances since moving to Turin and was at fault for Northern Ireland's goal against the Oranje in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Thursday, but Van der Sar has no concerns over the defender's ability to adapt.

"He had been at Ajax all his life," Van der Sar told ESPN. "So to step away, move with your girlfriend and the family to a different city in Italy, he must learn a new language and get to know his team-mates.

"His mentality, that of someone who always tries to improve, makes him want to be the best defender in the world. And I've seen that with a few players, one of them is playing for his team, Cristiano Ronaldo.

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"He has the same desire and hunger as De Ligt. Matthijs is only [20 years old]. He was fantastic for us at Ajax, our rock and our captain."

Despite De Ligt's error, Netherlands went on to beat Northern Ireland 3-1 to move top of Group C, as a Memphis Depay brace and a goal from Luuk de Jong earned the Oranje a late win.

Their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign continues on Sunday as the Nations League runners-up travel to Belarus.