De Ligt Surprised by Sub Role in Juventus’ First Game

Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt has confessed to being confused by head coach Maurizio Sarri’s decision to not use him at all in the Bianconeri’s first Serie A game of the season.

The defending Italian champions got off to a winning start in De Ligt’s absence, beating Parma 1-0 thanks to a goal by one of the men Sarri preferred in the back line, Giorgio Chiellini.

De Ligt said he didn’t think he’d be a substitute but knows that displacing a centre-back pairing that he considers one of the best in the world will not be easy.

“Of course, I would have preferred to play,” the ex-Ajax man said after the game.

“I couldn’t read this based on the training sessions, in that sense I didn’t see this coming, but obviously I respect the decision of the coach.

“I’m also realistic, I’m still getting used to being here in Italy. The duo that played today, Chiellini and [Leonardo] Bonucci, were seen as the best defensive pairing in the world.

“It’s not like you’re just going to play instead of them in the opening match. I’ll have to conquer them to earn my place in the team this season.”