Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen couldn’t resist teasing Frenkie de Jong about his goalscoring exploits after the Netherlands international scored the winner against Huesca on Sunday.
The Netherlands international struck the only goal of the game after a pass from captain Lionel Messi on 27 minutes to ensure it was a winning start to 2021 for the Catalan giants.
Ter Stegen said he was “super happy” for the Dutchman but then poked fun at his goalscoring record.
The goal is just De Jong’s second of the season for Barcelona. The midfielder was also on target in Barca’s win over Real Sociedad and picked up an assist against Levante.
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De Jong Praises Messi
De Jong also spoke to reporters after the match and praised Messi for setting up his goal on his return from injury.
The Barcelona captain spotted the midfielder’s run into the penalty area and clipped the ball into him to finish past goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez.
We are happy with the victory, especially in games like this when they close a lot when they are going backwards like all of the team. It’s important to make these runs into the box as a midfielder and today Leo gave me a great pass and I could score.
Barca went on to dominate the match but could not find a second goal despite enjoying the majority of the possession.
Ter Stegen admitted afterwards that his team need to learn how to close out games, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
They are three super important points for us to start the year well, although we suffered a lot. You have to win these games that decide LaLiga.
It is clear that we have to close out the matches earlier and it is something that we have to improve on. They defended us at the back and we pressed them so they wouldn’t come out. We were very concentrated and we made it difficult for them.
Barca’s win moves the team into fifth place in the table. Ronald Koeman’s side play again on Wednesday when they take on Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.
Athletic beat Elche 1-0 on Sunday and confirmed after the match that manager Gaizka Garitano had been sacked and is set to be replaced by former Valencia boss Marcelino.
More Milestones for Messi
Barca’s win over Huesca also saw Messi hit more milestones in his extraordinary career. The Argentine led his team out at Huesca on what was his 500th La Liga appearance for the Catalan giants.
Messi also hit another landmark with his assist for De Jong.
The captain came within a whisker of getting his name on the scoresheet too. A first-half free-kick was brilliantly tipped on to the crossbar by Huesca goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez.
Messi is now just five games away from beating Xavi’s record of La Liga appearances for Barcelona. He has also now made 750 outings in all competitions for the Catalans, while Xavi remains top of the all-time list on 767.
It seems almost certain that Messi will surpass Xavi and become the player with the most appearances for Barca, although his future at the club remains unclear with the captain out of contract at the end of the season.