Barcelona’s signing of Luuk de Jong on loan harnessed a load of criticism as the striker was thought to be below the club’s level. Ronald Koeman, in his blinded goodwill, only added fuel to the fire when he compared the Dutchman to Neymar Jr.
And while Luuk did not live up to the expectations Koeman clearly had for him, Xavi brought out the best in him, using him as a target man, often in times of crisis.
At the end of the 2021/22 season, Luuk had scored six goals in 21 games, which included a 92nd-minute winner against Levante, a 96th-minute equaliser against Espanyol, an equaliser against Real Madrid, and a winner against Mallorca.
Luuk became a fan-favourite during the second half of the season, and was often received with a standing ovation at the Camp Nou. He even confessed his desire to continue at Barcelona, even if it meant staying a rotation option.
Despite this, Barcelona have decided not to extend his loan or purchase the striker permanently. Luuk officially confirmed this on Twitter, saying, “Culers, it has been a special trip. I wish you the best in the future!”
Culers, ha estat un viatge especial… Us desitjo el millor en el futur! ?— Luuk de Jong (@LuukdeJong9) June 30, 2022
Culers, what a special time it was… I wish you all the best in the future! ❤️
Culers, ha sido un viaje especial… Os deseo lo mejor en el futuro! ? pic.twitter.com/pnxRSkKJOS
Luuk’s loan tenure did not turn out to be what Barcelona fans had expected, and he leaves the club as a cult hero.