SportsXavi finds De Jong

Xavi finds De Jong

Frenkie de Jong was uncomfortable in the place where he supposedly felt most comfortable. After Ajax, of course. The Dutchman, a calm guy and a diligent professional, was concerned about different issues at Barcelona. How could one talk about his private life? How could Barcelona accept defeat? How could he have the player poster for sale? There was one issue, in any case, that particularly worried him: how could he exploit his football at the Camp Nou? “Those who criticize me don’t see the games well,” the Dutchman defended himself. Luckily for him, Xavi Hernández sat on the Barça bench: “Frenkie has to be an important player, and he will be”. And, De Jong, who arrived at Barça three seasons ago with the award for the best midfielder in Europe under his arm, begins to free himself at Barcelona.

Before signing for the Barça team, De Jong called Ronald Koeman, one of his father John’s idols and one of the leaders in Barça history. He “he told me to be careful with life in Barcelona, ​​that he didn’t feel like he was on vacation all year. If you do this, everything else will be fine”, advised the former coach of the Netherlands. The midfielder listened to the hero of Wembley. As soon as he landed, he took refuge in the advice of Sergio Busquets, both for how he had to move on the field, and also for the places he had to go to eat in order to go unnoticed. Today he rarely moves from Gavà, familiar in the Little Beach Housebranch of the exclusive private club soho-house, in the bay of Garraf. Clinging to the low profile, De Jong was surprised that a false rumor emerged about a personal problem that was supposedly affecting his performance, as well as that during Koeman’s stage he was singled out as the coach’s right eye. Xavi’s experience in dealing with the environment and the dressing room began to reassure the Dutchman.

It happened, however, that from the outset the relationship with the Catalan coach was not very bright. In fact, De Jong did not understand some of the coach’s decisions, much less when President Joan Laporta was not affected by the defeat in the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid. “It makes me sad that we say we are proud when we lose. It shouldn’t be like that. We are Barça and when you lose you must be disappointed”, explained the midfielder, annoyed with the lack of ambition, concerned with the idea of ​​one of the heads of the club’s sports area: transfer it. “It has a market. In his position we have good players and the sale of him can favor the arrival of a player that we need more ”, assured some in the Sports City.

no transfer

But neither Xavi Hernández nor Jordi Cruyff (officially technical secretary) were willing to lose a player like De Jong. Of course, the Dutch had to take a step forward. The ghosts stripped away, Frenkie concentrated on the game. And, how could it be otherwise, he continued with his obsessions. “After each game I always look at the actions in which I participate. I want to know what I did wrong, if I was well positioned on the pitch, if there was a better position to receive the ball…” explains the Netherlands footballer. Now, however, he had one of the best teachers in his position. “He is very self-critical and demanding with himself, whenever I ask him, he says that he can play better”, corroborated the Barça coach.

Xavi spends long hours in the afternoon preparing videos for his players. One of his diamonds to be polished was De Jong. “Now he understands what we want from him. He knows when to make the superiority in the line of three. He fixes and divides well. He is one of the best players in this”, highlighted the Barça coach.

Xavi finds Frenkie. And now, at last, De Jong seems comfortable where he always should have been: “I would sign a six-year contract extension,” he said.

You can follow EL PAÍS DEPORTES on Facebook and Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.