De Jong can’t wait to play with ‘greatest player ever’ Messi

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 13: Frenkie de Jong of Ajax is challenged by Lucas Vazquez of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Ajax and Real Madrid at Johan Cruyff Arena on February 13, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Dutch star Frenkie de Jong is excited to play alongside Lionel Messi at Barcelona, who he rates as “the greatest player ever”.

The highly-rated Ajax playmaker turned down interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City last month in favour of joining Barcelona at the end of the season.

The Blaugrana will officially sign De Jong on July 1 and will pay Ajax €75m as part of the transfer fee with bonuses of €11m included as part of the deal.

Much has been made of De Jong’s decision to join Barcelona with even the likes of Dutch legend Patrick Kluivert, who himself played for Catalan club, weighing on his compatriot’s move.

But, for De Jong, the most exciting element in signing for Barcelona is the chance to play with Messi, who he rates as “from another level”, and the 21-year-old also elaborated on his reasons to go to Camp Nou.

“I am excited [to play with Messi], I’m looking forward to it,” De Jong told the club website. “In my opinion, he is the greatest player ever.

“It’s difficult to define him. I think he is the most complete player. He can do everything with the ball and without, he creates a lot of chances, his left foot is amazing and he’s so smart, just from another level.”

He added: “I always dreamed of Barca as a kid. I just wanted to play for Barca. I liked the players, I liked the style. I think Barca is a bit of my dream club.

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“My dream is to become an important player for Barcelona, I hope I can become a starter, and to win a lot of trophies with Barcelona. Those are my goals at the moment.”

After three seasons of Eredivisie football at Ajax, De Jong is braced for trying his luck out in the world’s strongest domestic league in La Liga.

“I think the level of the competition is really, really high,” he said. “Most people say the Premier League is the strongest league, but I’m doubting it.

“I think the level of the technique of the players in La Liga is a bit higher. The Premier League is more intense, of course, but La Liga is a really strong league. When I have time, I watch almost all of the games.”