Football News

“Bad taste” – Carles Alena unhappy with Barcelona over De Jong shirt number switch

By Steve Jennings

Published: 17:59, 25 July 2019

Barcelona midfielder Carles Alena says the club’s decision to strip him of the No.21 shirt and give it to new signing Frenkie de Jong has “left a bad taste”.

Alena claims Barcelona promised his shirt number to De Jong without consulting him, admitting he is unhappy with the way the board went about the switch.

Why is Alena unhappy with Barcelona? Five key things to know…

  • Alena wore the No.21 shirt last season, making 27 appearances across all competitions.
  • Barcelona have now given the No.21 to summer signing, Frenkie de Jong.
  • Alena claims the club did not consult him before making the switch.
  • He will now wear the No.19, made free by Andre Gomes’ move to Everton.
  • The No.19 is also Lionel Messi’s old number.

De Jong is a major signing for Barcelona having emerged as one of Europe’s brightest young talents over the last couple years, helping Ajax reach the Champions League semi-finals last season.

Meanwhile, Alena completed 90 minutes for the La Liga champions on just five occasions last term and could see his minutes reduce further following the arrival of De Jong.

The shirt number switch has added insult to injury and Alena believes the club should not have made a promise to De Jong without speaking to him first.

“Giving the No.21 to De Jong was something between him and me,” Alena said.

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“I would have liked a message from the board because they promised him the number without notifying me.

“That left a bad taste, it didn’t feel good. I’ve always behaved well with the club.”

Barcelona lost 2-1 to Chelsea in their latest pre-season game but have the chance to bounce back when they face Japanese side Vissel Kobe on Saturday. That fixture will see them face former Blaugrana stars Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Sergi Samper.