Saturday, August 8, 2020 at
Frenkie de Jong has almost had his first season in the service of Barcelona. The Catalans only have to complete the final phase of the Champions League, in which the return of the eighth final against Napoli on Friday evening forms the first hurdle. In an extensive interview with Faithful the 23-year-old midfielder shows himself extremely self-critical when he looks back on his first year in Spain.
“Five and a half, six? Something like that ”, De Jong answers when asked for a figure for his first season at Barcelona. The midfielder played forty official matches for the Catalans for the time being and is satisfied with that number. “But in terms of game I should have brought more. I don’t think I have played many bad games, but there have not been many games where I have really excelled. It was just really flat. Too flat. ”
De Jong generally has to put up with a different position at Barcelona than the role he held at Ajax and Orange. He notes that in the past he was often the first midfielder to be played in the build-up, while he is now ‘higher’ and ‘has to wait longer for the ball’. “But in me as a player, in my nature, is that I want to look for the ball, get the ball. I had to get used to that. And still actually. Anyway, I am new here, football at perhaps the largest club in the world, with players who have been among the best in the world for ten years, so it is not difficult to adjust. ”
In the midfield of Barcelona, De Jong plays together with Sergio Busquets, whom he calls ‘still the best controlling midfielder’. “If you look at him, he is actually doing everything right. He is positionally good, knows where the ball has to go and in position play he is fantastic. I think a lot of people defensively underestimate him. He is always in the right place, walks a lot – even though many people think not – and he is often in between. Busquets is not a fancy player who stands out among the general public, but he is really from the outside category ”, De Jong is full of praise.
Another player who impresses De Jong is of course Lionel Messi. “Sometimes, when I’m close to him and he does something special again, I often think: wow”, says the midfielder. He says Messi has “always been above the rest of the players for him” and notices that there is a big difference between him and the rest of the players. “He’s so good, so smart. With him, you just have to try and get in good positions so you can help him excel. Because if he can get into those positions, he will always make the difference for you. ”