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Barcelona CEO claims Matthijs de Ligt joined Juventus for the money

Matthijs De Ligt

Holland international De Ligt was wanted by most of Europe’s major clubs after a standout season with Ajax, and eventually opted to join the Italian champions.

However, Grau said during the presentation of the Camp Nou club’s budget that Barça (opens in new tab), who were long considered favourites to sign the centre-back, were overlooked because De Ligt wanted the biggest pay day.

Juve (opens in new tab) will reportedly pay De Ligt €8 million per year plus €4 million in bonuses over the next five years.

“We made him an offer, but he preferred to go to Juve where Italian taxation allows him to earn a higher net salary,” Grau said, as reported by Football Italia (opens in new tab).

Grau also commented on Barcelona’s pursuit of PSG (opens in new tab) winger Neymar, who left Catalonia for a world record €222 million fee two years ago.

“We made a very big effort for him,” he said.

“The club did everything possible with two offers, one with and one without players in exchange but still sustainable.

“The feeling, however, is that PSG never really opened up to a sale.”


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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.