‘What a Special Time It Was:’ Barcelona Striker Confirms Exit

Luuk de Jong

Getty Luuk de Jong celebrates scoring against Real Mallorca.

Barcelona striker Luuk de Jong has confirmed he is leaving the Catalan giants when his season-long loan from La Liga rivals Sevilla expires at the end of the month.

De Jong has taken to social media with a post to supporters making his feelings about his brief time at the club crystal clear. He wrote, “Culers, what a special time it was…I wish you all the best for the future.”

Eyebrows were raised when Barcelona opted to bring in De Jong on deadline day in 2021 on loan. The striker was not viewed as a “typical” Barcelona attacker and there were doubts over the wisdom of the acquisition.

However, De Jong managed to win fans around during his time at Barcelona with his performances and his professionalism. The Dutchman ended the campaign with seven goals from 719 minutes of football in the 2021-22 season.

PSV manager Ruud van Nistelrooy has already confirmed he is hoping to sign De Jong this summer and bring him back to the club where he scored 122 goals in just 204 official games.

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De Jong’s Crucial Contribution

De Jong also managed to score important goals, often coming off the bench to rescue crucial points for Xavi’s team. The Dutchman scored winners against Levante and Real Mallorca, and rescued a point with a last-gasp effort in the Catalan derby against Espanyol.

Coach Xavi was happy to single out De Jong for praise after his effort against Espanyol in his post-match press conference, as reported by Diario Sport.

“Luuk de Jong is an example and I say that in front of the whole squad,” Xavi said. “He’s a top professional. He’s a goal scorer and that’s why we brought him on. He’s had two chances and then scored another one.”

De Jong was willing to be patient at Barcelona and never complained about his lack of minutes. After scoring the winner to hand Barca a 3-2 win over Levante in April he admitted he’s just happy to help out the team, as reported by Sport.

“Scoring goals is amazing, but doing it at the death to win a game, which I’ve done a few times, is always special. They’re not normal feelings,” he said. “I am happy for the team. When they need me, I am here. I have to wait for my opportunities.”

More Barca Departures Expected

De Jong is the latest player to leave Barcelona and follows Ferran Jutgla, Dani Alves, and Philippe Coutinho out of the exit door. More departures are expected with center-back Clement Lenglet potentially the next to go.

Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur are close to signing the defender on a season-long loan, as reported by The Athletic. Lenglet has fallen out of favor at Barcelona and slipped behind Ronald Araujo, Eric Garcia, and Gerard Pique in the pecking order.

Danish center-back Andreas Christensen is also set to arrive on a free transfer which would have limited Lenglet’s chances of first-team football at the Camp Nou further next season.

Barcelona are also trying to offload Samuel Umtiti, Oscar Mingueza, Riqui Puig, and Martin Braithwaite. The players have been told by Xavi not to report for pre-season on Monday, July 4 and to spend the time looking for new clubs instead.

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