The Rise of the Young Dutch Talent - Frenkie de Jong
Frenkie de Jong caught the media's attention when Ajax was qualified for the 2018-19 Champions League Semi-finals; going past Real Madrid and Juventus, de Jong was phenomenal in those games, and since then, he is in the limelight.
The Dutch star started his journey from Willem II (a Dutch football club based in Tilburg) in 2015; after few years, he transferred to Ajax with a fee worth €1 a year later.
At Ajax, he made a positive growth and became one of the youngest midfielders in Europe.
2018-19 was an excellent year for Frenkie de Jong, winning a domestic double and reaching the Champions League semi-finals with Ajax, he won the Dutch Eredivisie and KNVB Cup and awarded the Eredivisie player of the season and became an influential part of the team, making the Champions League Semi-final appearance in 22 years after beating Juventus and Real Madrid.
This caught other team's attention, PSG, Manchester City, and Manchester United were keen to buy him, but his ultimate option was Barcelona.
Ajax agreed to sell him to Barcelona for a fee worth €75 million; Frenkie de Jong signed the club in July 2019 on a five-year contract.
He was selected in the 2019 FIFA FIFPro World 11 and was among three Dutch players to feature in it for the first time in five years.
Development of the Dutch star
During his first two years at Ajax, Frenkie de Jong was not the top priority of the squad and made only 15 appearances in 2015-16 for Ajax II; he mostly played as a defensive midfielder and scored only two goals in the entire season.
The Dutch star received the 2016-17 Eerste Divisie's Talent of the Season award for his Ajax II performances and 31 appearances.
Frenkie De Jong made his first appearance for the senior team against Sparta Rotterdam; however, he was not a regular starter in the squad, most of the time, he used to come as a substitute.
During the year 2017-19, Frenkie de Jong made 26 appearances for the first team, playing as a center-back due to his teammate Davison Sanchez's departure.
He also played as a center-midfielder, recording eight assists in 22 league games; he suffered a ligament tear and sidelined for three months in that season.
The year 2018-19 was a fascinating year for de Jong; he started playing as a CDM (center defensive midfielder).
Frenkie De Jong received Eredivisie player of the month in December (2018) and February (2019). He led Ajax to first domestic double (league and cup) since the 2001-02 season and took Ajax to the UCL semi-final; in 22 years, with his brilliant performance in the UCL and League, he was selected to the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League squad of the season.
He was voted the tournament's midfielder of the season. Rafael Van Der Vaart praised De Jong, who said, "Frenkie De Jong was among the best players in Europe with the ball at his feet."
De Jong made his international debut for the senior team on 6 September 2018, coming as a substitute at half-time in a friendly (2–1) win against Peru, fifteen minutes into his debut, he provided an assist to Memphis Depay, and soon became a regular starter for the Netherlands in 2018-19.
Frenkie de Jong had a sloppy start at Barcelona, losing his first match against Athletic Bilbao. 2019-20 was a rough season for de Jong, ending the season trophyless, and a massive blow against Bayern Munich in the UCL.
In the recent season, Frenkie de Jong made excellent progress; he has scored five goals and provided four assists in 27 appearances across all competitions. The Dutchman is finding his frequency at the club and has become more aggressive in the games, giving the team more intense play.
Frenkie De Jong has become a playmaker and tries to set up as many goals as possible; he has become the team's key player.
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