Ajax centre-back Matthijs de Ligt has reached a huge milestone in his budding career tonight, having become the youngest captain in a Champions League knockout game.
Assuming the captaincy aged 19 years and 186 days old against Real Madrid tonight, he eclipses the record set by Cesc 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.
He then 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’s now one of the most in-demand talents in world football, with a whole host of elite clubs circling.
De Ligt is a regular at the heart of the backline in Ronald Koeman’s Netherlands, having made 13 appearances for his country.
And in a UEFA Nations League game against Germany in November, he displayed his special talents when he rinsed Toni Kroos courtesy of a filthy roulette.
Mature beyond his years, don’t be surprised if De Ligt becomes the most expensive defender in world football in the near future if he is to leave Amsterdam.