Frenkie de Jong is a Dutch professional footballer. He plays as a midfielder for La Liga team FC Barcelona, and the Netherlands national team.
De Jong began his footballing career in 2015, at Willem II. A year later, he was signed by Ajax for a now-iconic €1. Although the fee excluded a sell-on clause, it remains one of the most symbolic things of his career. At Ajax, de Jong blossomed into a world-class player, and quickly cemented his status as one of the best young midfielders in Europe.
Ajax oversaw the player’s development, and he in turn was key to their success. He won a domestic double, winning the Eredivisie and the KNVB Cup. He was also the Eredivisie Player of the Season. But perhaps what every football fan remembers was THAT historic run Ajax completed to the UEFA Champions League semi-final, their first in 22 years. That breakout 2018-19 season saw the world take notice of the young and dynamic Ajax team. Their route to the semi-final saw them knock out European giants Real Madrid and Juventus, which was absolutely monumental. He made it into the 2019 edition of the prestigious FIFA FIFPro World11 team, and created history by being one of three Dutch players to make it to the team in five years.
His stellar season was duly rewarded with a big move to Barcelona. The Catalan club paid €75 million for his services. In La Liga, he is one of the best players, and is an integral part of the Barcelona team. His passing, dribbling, orchestration, playmaking and even goalscoring have been crucial to the team since his move.
On the international stage, de Jong has been exceptional. He made his debut for the Netherlands senior team in September 2018. He was a key member of the team that finished runners-up to Portugal in the UEFA Nations League. He also took part at UEFA Euro 2020.
Style of play
De Jong is one of the most complete midfielders in the world today, and one of the most versatile. His favoured position is that of a deep-lying midfielder, but he can play anywhere in midfield, and had even operated as a centre-back on quite a few occasions.
De Jong has been praised for his orchestration, vision, dribbling, technique, passing and his ability to read the game. His offensive contribution is top class, but equally impressive is his defensive awareness and defending. His ability to win the ball and immediately transition from defending to attacking has been lauded among fans and the media alike.
The Dutchman’s ability to find pockets of space to dribble into and hold off defenders to make key passes is outstanding, as is his overall passing game. He boasted a pass accuracy of 91.4% in his last season at Ajax. Moreover, his passing range is exemplary, and he can send a ball to a teammate in many ways, ranging from short passes to cross-field ones. He also has the tendency to stay centrally and make offensive runs down the middle.
De Jong has been compared to fellow Dutchman Johan Cruyff, as well as Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta for his similar style of play. He embodies the Barca style of play, and has been frequently labelled as a player with ‘the Barca DNA’.
De Jong is already one of the best players in the world, and would walk into any team. When you factor in his age, it is scary to think what he could become.