The Golden Boy, The New Dutch Destroyer. Both are names that suit Matthijs de Ligt well.
The 19-year-old Ajax player still lives cosily with his family in Abcoude: the place where he comes to rest during a busy period of matches at home and abroad. From preparations for the Champions League, to the Dutch national team and the fluttering title fight with PSV at home, we asked Matthijs how he and his body have stayed in top condition throughout.
Matthijs de Ligt grew up at Ajax, the club where he now plays a crucial role as a central defender in the first team. He is currently playing more games than usual – and travelling more as well. As a result, the rest periods between matches are becoming shorter and shorter.
Matthijs de Ligt: “Every day that I can, I pack in some rest. It usually takes two days to recover well and to feel fit again. Playing more often naturally results in extra fatigue during days off. Therefore, some good recovery time is becoming more and more important.”
RECOVERY PRODUCTS ARE ESSENTIAL
To get the most out of his days off, just like his matches, the right diet is very important.
“I need to immediately replenish all the nutrients that I have lost during intense exercise. In addition, recovery products such as Normatec from Amplify Sports are very important to me. This allows me to keep my legs cool, which means that the risk of injury is reduced”
So far, the youthful defender has not had to deal with serious injuries. But in this decisive phase of the season, the use of repair equipment is all the more important. “So much is demanded of your body and that is why Normatec and Gameready (an innovative cooling system against injuries, ed.) can really contribute to a positive recovery. Also, I regularly take an ice bath or a hot bath. I can feel everything that benefits me.”
EUROPEAN GOLDEN BOY
Matthijs de Ligt was awarded the European Golden Boy Award in 2018, the prize for the most talented young football player in Europe. Players like Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe preceded him. From someone who already plays such a leading role within the team at the age of 19, we naturally want to hear what his routines are before a game. “On the morning of a match day, I start with a breakfast like everyone else, then I take a shower, eat something and drive to the Arena to gather there with the team. Then we will have a ‘sports meal’ there together, followed by the team talk and then start the competition…”
For the rest of this interview with Matthijs de Ligt, order the latest issue of Life After Football.