Ballon D’or 2019: Matthijs De Ligt Won Kopa Trophy of The Year
- Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt has won the Kopa Trophy for the world’s best player under the age of 21.
De Ligt was one of 10 nominees, including Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix and Bayer Leverkusen prodigy Kai Havertz.
The centre-back enjoyed a fine season for Ajax in 2018-19 before joining Serie A side Juventus in a £67.8 million deal in the summer.
De Ligt succeeded last year’s Kopa Trophy winner, Kylian Mbappe, in winning the prize.
‘To begin, I’m really happy to be here and it’s a big honour to be on this stage with so many amazing players,’ he said after receiving the award.
‘First of all I want to thank Ajax, the club where I grew up and who gave me a lot. My team-mates from last year, my team-mates from Juventus, and of course my family and my girlfriend.
‘I just want to say I’m really proud to have achieved this and I want to say to you that you have to enjoy your evening because with such great players here, I think it is important to enjoy while they are still here.’
De Ligt initially struggled to find his feet at Juve after a nightmare debut but has impressed in recent weeks.
The 20-year-old has also formed a sturdy defensive partnership with Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk for Holland.
De Ligt’s award comes after he missed out on the Golden Boy prize last week, which was awarded to Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix.
The Holland international received his prize at Monday’s Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris and succeeds last year’s winner Mbappe in landing the award.