Frenkie de Jong’s performance at Villarreal has been singled out by his boss after Barcelona secured a dramatic win in a seven-goal thriller away from home and labelled the former Ajax player as one of the world’s best, Voetbal International reports.
Head coach Xavi Hernandez was quick to praise the Dutch international for his performance and overall professionalism after the match which included giving Barcelona an early lead inside the first 15 minutes of the match.
Barca came back from 3-2 to beat the Yellow Submarine in their La Liga clash despite taking an early 2-0 lead thanks to goals from De Jong and Gavi.
Juan Foyth, Alexander Sorloth and Alex Baena gave the hosts the lead before Ferran Torres and Robert Lewandowski secured all three points for the reigning Spanish champions.
After the match, Xavi spoke highly of his side’s fight to win the game back in what was an end-to-end contest and singled-out the 26-year-old’s contribution in midfield and his overall superb work ethic.
“But that’s nothing new,” said the coach.
“Last season, Frenkie was already extremely good,” explained Xavi. Still, he wanted to reflect on the fact that the former Ajax player acted at an amazing level in Estadio de la Cerámica, the old El Madrigal. His good game was crowned with a goal on Sunday . “When you see him play now, he’s one of the best players in the world.”
Xavi praised De Jong’s development since arriving at the club four years ago.
He said: “I’m so happy with Frenkie. He has become a personality. He divides the game, breaks the lines of opponents and does so from the position where he is happy. It’s really great to watch his game.”
Although De Jong already became national champion with Barça last season, he has taken an extra step according to his trainer. Xavi sees that his fourth captain has grown again. “Frenkie is at his best level since he came to Barcelona.”
This is his fifth season at Barcelona after joining the Spanish giants from Ajax for an initial fee worth around €75 million.
Since arriving at the Nou Camp he has made 186 appearances and picking up 16 goals along the way.