Traveling to Washington DC just hours after completing his move from Juventus to Bayern Munich over the summer to join up with his teammates and take part in what was a brief preseason tour of North America was indicative of the level of commitment and passion we’ve seen from Matthijs de Ligt. The Dutch international and former AFC Ajax captain has quickly become a mainstay in Bayern’s back line, but he was brought in and admired by Julian Nagelsmann, who’s now been sacked and replaced my Thomas Tuchel.
Nagelsmann, slightly due to the long-term injury to Lucas Hernandez, had most often used a center back pairing consisting of De Ligt and Dayot Upamecano, who are arguably two of Bayern’s most improved players from the start of the season up until now. When he opted for a back three, Benjamin Pavard would most often act as the third center back in that setup, but now time will tell what Tuchel has in store for the club’s back line moving forward.
Recently speaking to Dutch outlet NOS, as per @iMiaSanMia on Twitter, De Ligt explained that he was just as surprised and blind-sided by the club’s decision to part ways with Nagelsmann as a lot of other people were. “No (I didn’t see it coming), I was surprised. We are second in the league, in the quarter-finals of the German cup and in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. There’s still everything to play for,” De Ligt explained, echoing the sentiment that Bayern are still well within grasps of yet another historic treble despite slipping up to Bayer Leverkusen before the international break.
“The people in charge decide who the coach is, but it was a difficult decision to swallow. But I also think that Tuchel is a coach who can help us well,” De Ligt added, knowing how much he’s grown under Nagelsmann. He’s no stranger to playing under World Class managers between his tenures at Bayern, Juventus, and Ajax, but he’ll now have to show Tuchel just why Nagelsmann had so much faith in him.
Naturally, there was speculation that there had been a great deal of unrest in the dressing room between Nagelsmann and some of the players, but De Ligt said that was just a load of nonsense that lacked any sort of substance. Also, much like a handful of other players in Bayern’s squad, De Ligt has been in touch with Nagelsmann since his sacking. “Ah, the German media; that says enough. I had a good relationship with the coach and his staff, so it was difficult. I’ve been in touch with him, sent him a message, thanking him for everything he taught me. He really wanted me at the club and has been important to me. Also thanks to him, I have taken important steps in my development in recent months,” he explained.