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

Juventus stars De Ligt and Ronaldo share similar mentality – Ajax CEO Van der Sar - Sporting News
Edwin Van der Sar admits interest in Manchester United job
Edwin van der Sar has compared Matthijs de Ligt to Cristiano Ronaldo, claiming they share a similar mentality to be among the worlds 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.

Edwin van der Sar makes U-turn over pressing Manchester United role Former Manchester United keeper

Van der Sar played a pivotal part in developing Erik ten Hags team in his role as Ajax CEO, with prospects such as Frenkie de Jong and Donny van de Beek graduating through the clubs 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 Irelands goal against the Oranje in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Thursday, but Van der Sar has no concerns over the defenders 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 Ive seen that with a few players, one of them is playing for his team, Cristiano Ronaldo.

“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 Ligts 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.

Former Manchester United keeper Edwin van der Sar has said he would love to return to Old Trafford one day.

The Dutchman won four Premier League titles in just five years with United under Sir Alex Ferguson and has previously denied the prospect of returning to Manchester and claimed it “nonsense” only last month.

This time though Van der Sar – who currently works as chief executive officer with Ajax – has admitted he would be “interested” in a position at Old Trafford.

Thats Ajax, who gave me the opportunity to develop, they scouted me, they gave me the chance to shine in the world of football.

And the last club of my career, also gave me a lot of attention, recognition and everything, developed at a later stage.

But I need to learn a little more here [at Ajax], develop myself further and of course eventually lets see what the future brings.

United is a fantastic club, theres a great following all over the world. Everybody wants to play for them and eventually, work for them.

United were said to be looking for a suitable sporting director candidate over the summer, with Solskjaer saying in April: Me and Ed (Woodward, executive vice-chairman) and Joel (Glazer, co-chairman), we are looking at how can this club be ran as smoothly and as well as possible.

Paul Mitchell of RB Leipzig, Monchi and Atletico Madrid chief Andrea Berta have all been mentioned as targets over the last 18 months, but nothing has come of the speculation with United yet to make an appointment.

And when he was asked about the situation last month, Woodward said: Regarding the speculation around the Head of Football, we are continually reviewing and looking at the potential to evolve our structure on the football side. Much of the speculation around this type of role revolves around recruitment – an area that weve evolved in recent years.

As weve already mentioned, we feel the players weve signed in the summer demonstrate this approach is the right one.