Barcelona striker Luuk de Jong has opened up on life at the Camp Nou and how he has come to realize what an incredible player captain Sergio Busquets is for the Catalan giants.
De Jong told NOS that he used to find Busquets “annoying” when he played against him but now the two players are on the same side he can see the Spain international’s quality both on and off the pitch.
“The boys are very relaxed from the start, even though they are big players,” he said. “Busquets is like that. When I first played against him, I thought: what an annoying player. But when I came here, I thought: that’s a really good guy, a top captain.”
De Jong’s signing for Barcelona in the summer of 2021 was met by raised eyebrows by many supporters. However, the striker has managed to win over fans by his professionalism and by scoring some important goals.
The Dutchman has netted six times in La Liga in 2021-22 for Xavi’s men, only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Memphis Depay have more goals for the Catalan giants this season.
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De Jong Talks Convincing Xavi
De Jong was brought to Barca by former coach and compatriot Ronald Koeman and looked unlikely to have much of a future once Xavi arrived. However, the striker has managed to convince the coach of his qualities and has spoken about his new boss.
“I always had in my head: I’m going to finish the season at Barcelona. Of course I had just moved to Barcelona a few months before, at one of the biggest clubs in the world, who knows what your input can be,” he said. “I made the choice to stay and keep fighting. Everyone started from zero at Xavi, so I proved myself enough to him.”
De Jong is unlikely to start many games for Barca but is a potent option off the bench for Xavi’s men. However, the striker is still expected to leave in the summer and return to Sevilla when his loan deal expires.
Busquets Hits ‘Very Special’ Landmark
Meanwhile, Busquets hit a landmark for Barcelona in the team’s last match against Real Sociedad in La Liga. The captain made his 675th outing for the club, moving past Andres Iniesta in the club’s all-time appearance list and behind only Xavi and Lionel Messi.
The veteran took to Instagram after the match to celebrate his achievement with his teammates and explain how it was a very special moment in what has been an extraordinary career.
“Yesterday’s game was very special for me, I’ve reached 675 games with Barcelona and I’m in the top 3 of players with the most games in the history of the best club in the world, beating my friend and teammate Andres Iniesta who I admire and appreciate very much,” he wrote. I never imagined reaching such an important figure that will always go down in history, but above all I am left with the journey that has taken me here, thanking all my teammates, staff, club personnel, fans and especially my family who have been to my side since day 1. Thank you very much for the congratulations and for the respect and affection of all, I hope to continue adding more. Visca el Barça.”
Busquets has plenty of work to do if he is to overtake Xavi and Messi in the list. The Barcelona coach is second on the all-time list for appearances on 767 while Messi is top on 778.