After winning the Eredivisie title with Ajax, Frenkie de Jong who is Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk’s teammate in Dutch National team said he is already looking forward to joining up with his new teammates at Barcelona. The Catalan club paid 75 million euros for the midfielder, plus a further 11m euros in variables, after he impressed during Ajax’s remarkable Champions League run in the first half of the season, which saw them reach the semi-finals.
“I’m very excited to see [Lionel] Messi during training. I think I’m only going to pass the ball to him,” De Jong laughed.
The 22-year-old assured Barcelona fans that he won’t feel the pressure of playing for such a big club: “I’m not going to change how I am; it won’t matter if I focus,” he added. “I’m curious about how I’ll perform there and I’m eager to learn from the best.”
With De Jong at the heart of the midfield, Ajax secured a domestic double to cap off an excellent season: “We have a unique team for Dutch standards. We’ve had a lot of fun and we’ve had some amazing moments,” he said.
Few days ago, de Jong said a fond farewell to the Johan Cruyff Arena as he played his part in a 4-1 victory over Utrecht which all but secured the Eredivisie title, and the Dutchman confirmed he will head to Barcelona with a feeling of joy. After their heart-breaking Champions League elimination to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, the young Ajax team showed resilience to ensure that only a minor miracle could see PSV Eindhoven take the title from them on the final day of the season.
“It’s been wonderful, I go to Barcelona with great joy,” De Jong admitted. “It’s been a fantastic season, although I would have liked to have said goodbye with three titles, but it wasn’t to be. “I watched the match between Liverpool and Barcelona. I don’t know if they need me; had they been in the final, they could have won the treble.”
Another person who said something good about Lionel Messi is Laliga President Javier Tebas. LaLiga celebrated the 90th anniversary of its founding on Tuesday night at the RCDE Stadium at an event that saw awards of recognition handed out to a number of people who have impacted on Spanish football in that time. Lionel Messi was one of the award winners, but he didn’t attend the gala, though Javier Tebas isn’t holding any grudges. Emilio Butragueno and Raul Gonzalez attended the event on behalf of Real Madrid.
“He’s been a little bit affected by what’s happened in these last few days,” Tebas said. “I don’t think he’s leaving Barcelona. “He’s the best player in LaLiga [Santander]’s history and deserves a lifetime homage. There’ll never by anyone like him again.”
Antoine Griezmann is again at the centre of attention after informing Atletico Madrid that he will not remain at the Wanda Metropolitano beyond the summer, but Radomir Antic, Los Rojiblancos’ former title-winning coach who attended the gala, doesn’t envision him at the Camp Nou.
“Given how Barcelona play, I don’t see where he would fit,” he said.