Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has admitted that he was pressured by the club, and especially Barcelona President Joan Laporta, to leave in the summer.
The Dutch midfielder was linked all summer with a move to Manchester United, but he resisted such a switch, electing to stay with the Blaugrana instead.
A dispute over the player’s deferred wages complicated matters even further and made the Red Devils eventually give up the hunt for him.
Since the failed move, De Jong’s stature at the club has diminished significantly. He has been reduced to a bench player and rarely starts, with Xavi preferring Pedri and Gavi as the two in front of Sergio Busquets.
Struggling for minutes at the Spotify Camp Nou Stadium, De Jong has only managed one start in the Champions League, against Victoria Plzen, and only three in La Liga.
In an interview with Ziggo Sport via 90min, the 25-year-old said, “I was calm. I decided in May that I wanted to stay. My opinion never changed during the whole period. I remained calm.
“But then, you know, the pressure started coming. From the newspapers, from the president…from everywhere, in fact.”
“But I wanted to stay at Barça, so it never bothered me.”
In the frank interview, De Jong conceded that he was well aware that Xavi would play him less.
In a somewhat passionate plea to the Barca boss, he reiterated his wish to start against Real Madrid in El Classico tomorrow – an unlikely scenario as Xavi’s favourites will likely start over him as they have all season.
Certainly, De Jong is not showing any likelihood of wavering on his position that he does not want United. The club should move on and look elsewhere rather than dither in wishful thinking that his stance will magically change one day.
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