Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi have been declared joint winners of the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year gong, with voting tied for the first time in the awards’ 20-year history.
Barcelona have a historic timeline of Dutch footballers that dates back to 1973 when Johan Cruyff signed for the iconic Catalan club.
After that, everything else was history as the Dutchmen had a major impact on Barca, with Cruyff laying the foundations first in a five-year stint as a player, then as manager between 1988 and 1996.
A little bit of Oranje DNA did not hurt the Catalan giants at all, because the best players from the Netherlands were always most likely going to sign for them.
However, Barcelona have not signed a Dutch midfielder since 2011 when Ibrahim Afellay joined from PSV, but his spell at the club did not last very long and Barca found themselves in a rare Dutch drought.
With the 2018/2019 season now finished, Frenkie de Jong is officially a Barcelona player. The 22-year-old rising star has ended the club’s Dutch drought.
Despite the shock result in the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg against Tottenham, De Jong is leaving Ajax in good spirits. He leaves Amsterdam on the back of a trophy double, as the team lifted their 34th Eredivisie league trophy as well as their 19th KNVB Cup this season.
De Jong has also made seven appearances for the Netherlands since his debut in 2018 and worked his way into the starting 11, which makes him an important asset to the team.
For someone who is growing fast and making headlines as a defensive midfielder competing amongst the strongest sides in Europe like Juventus and Real Madrid, it is safe to say the club has found their ideal replacement for Sergio Busquets.
Over the years, Barca have struggled in the transfer market to find a suitable replacement who could continue the 30-year-old’s reign in the midfield when he eventually moves on.
Like Busquets, De Jong drops deep into the defensive third and is confident to carry the ball out through to the middle where he can switch the ball left to right.
But unlike Busquets, De Jong said that he does not have a preferred position and that he can play anywhere in the midfield, according to an interview with the club channels.
He also said he is looking forward to learning from Busquets alongside him, as the Dutch drought-breaker attempts to build a successful career at Barca that could see cement himself amongst Holland’s greats at the club.