Barcelona Starred in against England
With Johan Cruyff’s influence clearly evident, there isn’t a player out there that fits the DNA of Ajax, Barcelona and the Netherlands like Frenkie de Jong.
The Barcelona signing was named Man of the Match by UEFA during the Nations League semi-final against England in Guimaraes.
The 22-year-old made more touches, more passes, more tackles and more interceptions than any other player on the pitch during the game.
“[Matthijs] De Ligt and De Jong were very good. Especially Frenkie, he played a great game,” Dutch coach Ronald Koeman told Cope afterwards.
“I wasn’t precise with some of my passes,” De Jong said – despite his 96.3 percent pass completion rate.
“You cannot give him too much respect on the pitch because that’s when he starts to dictate the game,” England’s Declan Rice said of his opponent.
De Jong and the Netherlands will come up against Portugal in Sunday’s final and defender Ruben Dias is well aware of the threat the midfielder poses.
“We know that they benefit from the talent of De Jong in midfield,” Dias said.
“It will be difficult, but we will to everything possible to stop the Netherlands… and De Jong.”
After a successful season with Ajax, De Jong is desperate to lift more silverware with his country, especially after their absences in the last two major tournaments.
“We had a fantastic season at Ajax. We won the league and cup but, unfortunately, we went out in the semi-finals of the Champions League,” he told MARCA.
“Now we have a new opportunity to win another trophy with the Netherlands and I’m confident we can do it.”
“I would say that he’s the best I’ve come up against,” said Antoine Griezmann of De Jong after playing him in the Nations League with France.
“I tried to press him as much as I could, but I never got the ball off him.”
“Right now, he’s the best,” Andrea Pirlo said. “He has a personality, technique, he knows what’s going to happen… he reminds me of me.”
“For me, he’s the best midfielder in the world right now,” said Jamie Redknapp. “He’s like Luka Modric, he makes everyone around him look good.
“I’m such a fan. I think he’s got everything.”
“He reminds me of Xavi,” said Jose Rodriguez, who has faced De Jong in the Eredivisie this season with Fortuna Sittard.