De Jong, to give more gas

“Satisfied, but not totally satisfied.” This is how Frenkie de Jong defined his season on April 6 from Amsterdam, where he traveled before the state of alarm was decreed in Spain. The statement may not be brilliant, but it is true. De Jong has given the level at Barça this season. He adapted quickly and was comfortable from day one, and has been the undisputed starter. It happens that a player so fresh, so exuberant and so different had been seen in Ajax and the Dutch team that the partner has been wanting more De Jong.

De Jong has been seen playing with the handbrake at many times this season. For several years, since the departure of Luis Enrique as coach and the goodbye of Neymar as driver of the transitions, Barça have been a more rational team, keeping the position game to the extreme to the rhythm of Piqué, Busquets, Rakitic and Messi. Coming from a team of kids who played wildly (Neres, Ziyech, Van de Beek), the piston had to drop one point. However, De Jong has tools to play like that too. He knows the codes of position football and knows how to secure the ball. Of course, one of his best conditions, the ability to break lines with his extraordinary driving of the ball in the race, is not being used by Barça as it should.

De Jong has spent confinement taking care of his diet (“I eat less than normal because the training is less than normal. It is not that I do not eat something in particular but I am careful with what I eat and what I drink”) and thinking about how to improve your game. The Dutchman devours videos of his matches. One of his obsessions is to connect better with Messi. There have been sparks, as in the Eibar match; and, especially in the 1-1 of Heliópolis. Crazy about surrounding himself with the best players, Messi ran to hug De Jong with energy rarely seen. He gave the impression that he wants more than anyone that the footballer finishes joining what Cesc called the “software” of Barça.

Unquestionable for Valverde and Setién, for the moment De Jong has ended up settling in the interior position. The midfielder, at the moment, is owned by Sergio Busquets, one of the companions who, by the way, helped him the most in his adaptation at first. De Jong came from playing with Schöne in the midfielder position. That allowed him to hang up as many times as he wanted. However, playing '' five '' positional at Barça is different. This was verified, for example, in Orriols. In the game against Levante, De Jong was not in his place to cut a second play that meant the 1-1 of the granotas.

One of the lessons he has been learning in his rookie year in LaLiga, where he also disappointed the Clásico by the defeat and, above all, from his match in Naples, in which he had only touched the ball 51 times. “Satisfied, but not totally satisfied”, De Jong has been a strategic success for Barça. But he is never satisfied. He is in a hurry to be decisive, become a leader and win his first league with Barça.