Ajax centre-back Matthijs de Ligt reached a huge milestone in his budding career on Wednesday, becoming the youngest captain ever in a Champions League knockout game.
Concise News reports that assuming the captaincy aged 19 years and 186 days old against Real Madrid, De Ligt eclipses the record set by Francesc Fabregas when the Spaniard had the Arsenal armband in 2009.
Ruben Neves, now at Wolverhampton, achieved a similar feat during his time at Porto but De Ligt is the only 19-year old to be a starting captain in the latter stages of Europe’s premier club competition.
De Ligt made his Ajax first-team debut in 2016 and went on to make 23 appearances in all competitions in his breakthrough campaign as Ajax reached the Europa League final.
Thereafter, he became the club’s youngest ever captain when usual skipper Joel Veltman suffered an injury in March 2018.
His meteoric rise has continued from then on and he is now one of the most in-demand talents in world football, with a whole host of elite clubs chasing him.
De Ligt is a regular at the heart of the backline in Ronald Koeman’s Netherlands, having made 13 appearances for his nation.
Particularly in a Uefa Nations League game against Germany in November, he displayed his special talents.
Mature beyond his age, the world wouldn’t be surprised if De Ligt becomes the most expensive defender in world football in the near future if he is to leave Amsterdam.
The young player is being more heavily linked with sides outside of England.
Back in October, Serie A champions Juventus had joined the hunt for the talented teenager.
La Liga giants Barcelona have headed the queue of interested parties for some time and are expected to remain keen until the summer.
Various other sides (including Manchester City) could come into the mix for a player considered to be one of the finest around in his chosen position, with the potential to get even better.