Lionel Messi had a subpar showing when Barcelona visited Olympique Lyon in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, with the French side forcing a goalless draw in the first leg of the tie. That did not deter a great admirer of his, though, with the Argentine described as the greatest player ever by Ajax midfielder, Frenkie de Jong.
The Ajax midfielder is one of football’s most promising talents and before his transfer to the La Liga club was linked with a host of other sides. De Jong is relishing the opportunity to play with “the greatest player ever” Messi after sealing his dream move to Barcelona. Barca secured the Ajax star in a £65 million deal in January, with De Jong set to join his new team-mates at Camp Nou in the summer for the start of the 2019-2020 campaign.
The 21-year-old has attracted attention following a string of impressive performances in Ajax’s midfield, and he is now keen to take his career to the next level alongside the Argentina international. “I am excited [to play with Messi], I’m looking forward to it,” the 21-year-old told Barcelona’s official website . “In my opinion, he is the greatest player ever. It’s difficult to define him. I think he is the most complete player. He can do everything with the ball and without, he creates a lot of chances, his left foot is amazing and he’s so smart, just from another level.”
De Jong was linked with several clubs and revealed he spoke to both Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City before the switch, but says Barcelona was his ideal destination. “I always dreamed of Barca as a kid. I just wanted to play for Barca,” he said. “I liked the players, I liked the style. I think Barca is a bit of my dream club. My dream is to become an important player for Barcelona, I hope I can become a starter, and to win a lot of trophies with Barcelona. Those are my goals at the moment.”
And De Jong believes he has joined the strongest league in world football as he prepares for life in La Liga. “I think the level of the competition is really, really high,” he added. “Most people say the Premier League is the strongest league, but I’m doubting it. I think the level of the technique of the players in La Liga is a bit higher. The Premier League is more intense, of course, but La Liga is a really strong league. When I have time, I watch almost all of the games.”
De Jong has made 71 appearances for Ajax and has registered six goals. He has also earned five Dutch caps since making his debut in June 2018. Do you agree with De Jong?