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Frenkie de Jong on his future: “I want to stay at Barcelona all my life”



Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

After a topsy-turvy start to life at Barcelona, which was also followed by some unsavoury transfer drama, Frenkie de Jong has slowly but surely settled into his Barcelona boots.

The Dutch midfielder who arrived from Ajax at 22, has now spent four years with the Catalans, and he is growing into his roles and responsibilities, looking closer to realising his tremendous potential every game.

There is no doubt he is a fan-favourite and once again has re-established himself as one of the cornerstones of the Barcelona project.

Today, the 26-year-old spoke to Spanish outlet El Periodico in a lengthy chat about his journey, reflected on his aspirations, the people close to him, and his love for Barcelona.

Here’s an excerpt from a candid chat where he discussed much more, including his worst losses, what he feels about statistics, criticism and fatherhood.

De Jong talks captaincy, the Barça connection and more

On his love of football: “I have loved football since I was very young. Because of my father, my mother, my grandparents… They all love it very much. I think that’s why I love it too.”

Born to play. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

On how it all started: “Both my grandparents always watched my games. One of them passed away. And my grandfather, who is still alive, was the one who took me to my first professional club, Willem II.”

On always improving: “You have to improve in life, as a person and as a player. I feel good, comfortable, happy… In the city, in the club. And it’s still like that.”

On being self-critical: “There are many things I could have done better so far. The first few years I could have been much more important for Barça. It’s not that I didn’t try, but maybe I could have had more influence.”

On being one of the captains: “It is a great honor to be among the captains. It was always a dream to play here, and being among the captains when you’re not from Spain or Catalonia, is a great honor.”

On leadership: “People get confused sometimes. And they think someone has leadership when he shouts a lot. Or he seems strong when he says ‘Motherf*cker!’… And they think: ‘That guy has a lot of character’.

“But it’s actually about helping your teammates, doing what you have to do and not disappearing on the pitch at big moments.”

On the Dutch-Barça connection: “My father is a big fan of Johan Cruyff. And we always went to the Costa Brava on holiday, even to the Spotify Camp Nou to watch a friendly or on a tour of the museum. The Netherlands and Barcelona always had a special connection.”

A special bond. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

On the transfer drama last summer: “Financially, Barça is not at its best. And they could get a lot of money for me. Maybe the club thought it was good to sell me, but I didn’t want to leave. It was always clear to me.”

On his love for the club: “It is the club of my dreams and I want to be here all my life. I didn’t want to leave suddenly.”

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