The Champions League semi-finals are upon us, we’re in the Endgame now.
Very few people knew who Frenkie de Jong was prior to this season, which is quite similar to Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel. No one knew who she was before her movie came out at the start of 2019, not long after De Jong well and truly shook the world.
De Jong came from obscurity, raised in the Willem II youth academy he even played a professional game for them before being signed by Ajax as an 18-year-old. De Jong rose through the youth academy of the Dutch giants, impressing everyone who saw him with a supremely well-rounded skill-set.
He made his Ajax debut in 2016/17 and came off the bench in the Europa League final defeat to Manchester United.
This all echoes Carol Danvers, who was an obscure test pilot with so much natural talent that she was allowed to fly top secret test flights for Project Pegasus – eventually being selected for a key flight which ended up giving her the powers.
For De Jong, the moment he gained his powers was the Ajax injury crisis that saw him drafted in to play centre-back.
The midfielder excelled in the position and managed to clock up serious minutes as he was so impressive there people were comparing him to Franz Beckenbauer – Frenkie was always destined for greatness.
A True Hero
Erik ten Hag’s first full season as Ajax coach saw De Jong installed at the base of midfield and given authority to run the show. In essence, Ten Hag trusted this obscenely talented, yet incredibly unproven, youngster to be the linchpin of his side.
If De Jong were to fail, so would his entire side. This was later mirrored by Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman, who put De Jong in the same role for the national side.
If that sounds familiar it’s because that’s exactly what Nick Fury did with Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel. Here was this obscenely talented individual, a person whose powers and skills blew Fury’s mind, yet he retained a cool head, followed her judgement and – when he had the authority – placed enormous trust in her.
De Jong is a midfielder who can do basically anything. He can dribble, he can pass, he can defend with almighty gusto and he loves the big stage. In the Champions League knockout rounds he really shook the world: when Real Madrid were his big name opponents he laughed and orchestrated an incredible Ajax victory in which he made a mockery of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and other big name players. He then repeated this trick against Miralem Pjanic and Juventus.
Frenkie de Jong's game by numbers vs. Real Madrid:
100% tackles won
100% aerials won
91% passing accuracy
6 ball recoveries
2 take-ons completed
1 shot blocked
1 foul won
Already got that winning feeling at the Bernabéu. ? pic.twitter.com/100ueoXbmU
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 5, 2019
Carol Danvers can fly, punch stuff really hard, breathe in space and shoot lasers out of her hands. In terms of superhero skill-sets she can basically do anything and when confronted with alien warships she absolutely dismantles them with an almost absurd ease.
She is doing to her enemies what De Jong is doing to his, leaving them wondering who this person is as they’re getting their backsides handed to them.
So what is De Jong’s endgame this season? It would have to be the Treble. Ajax last did the Treble in 1972, but thanks in large part to De Jong’s incredible control over midfield the Dutch side are in charge.
They lead the Eredivisie with three games left to play, are in the KNVB Cup final against, of all teams, Willem II – and they face Spurs for the right to contest the club’s first Champions League final for 23 years. These are grand ambitions.
Carol Danvers has similarly epic goals in Avengers: Endgame – she has to come back to Earth and help the Avengers stop Thanos. A task they proved incapable of doing without her in Infinity War.
Moreover, if they are successful, Carol has to establish herself as a true hero on a galactic scale with continuing and ever-increasing examples of heroic greatness. This is similar to De Jong, who has an additional goal of chasing the Nations League with the Netherlands.
What if he were to help Ajax secure even a domestic double (their first since 2002) and then help his country win their first trophy since 1988?
That would be a feat comparable with, say, Carol Danvers becoming an international sensation ($1,110,180,047!) and helping to defeat the greatest threat the world has ever known.
One final thing: now everyone knows who Captain Marvel is a sequel is sure to be on the way, and De Jong is once again in the same boat as he will join Barcelona, one of the biggest clubs in the whole world, in the summer and look to go higher, further, faster!