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Dutch legend says Barcelona veteran hinders Frenkie de Jong’s development

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Photos by David Ramos/Getty Images

Ronald de Boer, a former La Liga winner with Barcelona, has expressed his discontent over Frenkie de Jong’s development at the Catalan club, saying that Sergio Busquets’ presence is pretty much hurting the midfielder’s style of play.

Age finally seems to be catching up with Sergio Busquets who has been accused of playing a rather sluggish football this season. The Barcelona captain was at fault during the recent El Clasico as it was his lost possession that led to Madrid’s goal.

Despite the criticism from the fans though, Xavi has defended the veteran midfielder, forcing de Jong to play out of his natural position.

As a result, the former Ajax man has struggled for form, managing just two goals and as many assists across all competitions. Speaking about his return, de Boer said the constant changes, as well as Busquets’ presence, is not helping de Jong’s cause at the club.

“The constant changes of coaches can affect him [de Jong], as well as the fact that Busquets is still key in the midfield,” de Boer told El Pais.

“Sometimes coaches and clubs hold on to players who had to step down a long time ago. The future in Barcelona is De Jong, Gavi, Pedri, and Nico. With these, they have an amazing midfield.”

“Busquets is holding the whole team. Busquets hinders de Jong’s development,” he added.

De Jong, a pivot of Ajax’s Dream Team of the past, has been either used on the right side of the midfield three or has been deployed as an attacking midfielder. This has more or less restricted his natural instinct, resulting in an apparent slump in form. 

The 24-year-old’s stock once dipped to an extent that he was rumoured to be on the list of players Barcelona were willing to sell in January in order to lower their wage bill.

Although it is not the case anymore, de Jong continues to be used out of his natural position and Xavi will have to acknowledge the problem in one way or another.

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