The first El Clásico of the 2020/21 season is almost upon us. This Saturday, Barcelona will welcome Real Madrid at the Camp Nou for a game that is bound to be a tactical spectacle coming from both sides.
And as we edge ever closer to the big clash, Frenkie de Jong spoke to SPORT and gave us little insight on the team’s state.
“It will be a really difficult game for us, Clásicos always are because Madrid are a good opponent, but we have a lot of confidence and have a great team,” De Jong started.
Of course, having been at the club for a while now, this won’t exactly be his first rodeo. But regardless of that, every Clásico is special and different than any other match.
“I played my first Clásico at Camp Nou last year and you feel it’s a different game compared with others. You know the entire world is speaking about this game for weeks.”
The Dutchman was asked about Barcelona’s lacklustre 2019/20 campaign which ended trophyless. It’s never easy, he says, as it’s always expected that the Catalans win at least one trophy every year.
“When you play for a club like Barcelona and you don’t win a single trophy, it’s always disappointing.”
Finally, he had to talk about Lionel Messi as well. The Argentine is, according to De Jong, still the best in the world and he wants to give his all playing for Leo and the team.
“It’s always good to have someone like Messi in the team because he’s the best in the world. I want to play well and be an important part of the team, to help the team win trophies this season. At Barça, you always have to try and fight for every trophy.”
The game between Barcelona and Real Madrid is scheduled for this Saturday afternoon and is looking to be another clash of titans.
Koeman has ruled out the departure of Junior Firpo
According to a report published by SPORT, Ronald Koeman has ruled out any and all departures from the squad in the winter transfer window – barring Matheus Fernandes -, including that of Junior Firpo to AC Milan.
The report states that Barcelona are in a sketchy position and do not want to sell any players because signing replacements is getting increasingly tough. The signing of Eric Garcia remains scheduled for the summer when he will be signed on a free transfer, while Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum seem extremely unlikely.
Firpo was linked out of Barcelona, with both Italian capital clubs – Inter Milan and AC Milan tracking his progress in Spain. A loan move to Milan with a €20 million option to buy was looking extremely realistic. Still, without reinforcements in that position, Barcelona should not be letting the Spaniard leave in the winter.
The truth is, while Barcelona are in crippling debt, and desperately require players off their wage bill, selling low-earners like Firpo seemed like a bad idea. The plan was to let go of the former-Real Betis defender and hand Alejandro Balde his debut. However, at the age of 16, that is too much pressure to knight to a player.
That said, the club is still willing to listen to offers for Matheus Fernandes, who has been deemed surplus. The Brazilian joined from Palmeiras in what was termed yet another shady deal by the long-gone Josep Bartomeu. He has registered no more than 17 minutes this season, coming on against Dynamo Kyiv in the UEFA Champions League.
Matheus was not even given the chance to play against UE Cornella in the Copa del Rey and has spent 11 games on the bench this season following his lucky 17 minutes in the UCL. Deportivo Alaves are eyeing a loan move for the 22-year-old owing to their budget limitations, and Barcelona will be hoping to make this transfer a reality soon.