Football News

Frenkie De Jong reveals ‘sadness’ as young Ajax side is broken up

By Steve Jennings

Published: 17:56, 13 August 2019

Frenkie de Jong has admitted he is “a bit sad” as Ajax’s young double-winning continues to be broken up this summer.

The 21-year-old agreed to join Barcelona midway through last season, while Matthijs de Ligt has signed for Juventus and Donny van de Beek is being linked with Real Madrid.

Ajax’s 2018/19 side: where are they now?

  • Frenkie de Jong agreed to join Barcelona back in January.
  • Captain Matthijs de Ligt chose to join Juventus last month.
  • Donny van de Beek is being heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid.
  • Daley Sinkgraven and Lasse Schone have left Ajax for Bayer Leverkusen and Genoa, respectively.
  • For now, Ajax have retained the likes of Hakim Ziyech and David Neres.

Ajax won the domestic double last season and remarkably reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, only to suffer late heartbreak against Tottenham after beating Real Madrid and Juventus.

And De Jong, who played a crucial role in Ajax’s success last term, admits it’s a shame his former club have been unable to hold on to their young stars.

“Of course I feel a bit sad,” he told ESPN. “Not that I regret it because I am really proud and happy to be at Barcelona, but of course it’s a bit sad that the team is breaking up.

“But you know that those things are going to happen when you have a season like that at a club like Ajax. It’s just the way it is.”

Asked about last season’s achievements, De Jong pointed to the team’s surprise Champions League victories as the standout moments.

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He said: “Those are the best memories. We became champions. What we did over the whole season was amazing. The celebrations were amazing.

“But If I had to name one or two games, I would say Juventus and Real Madrid away, because it was just a big surprise for everyone in Europe. I think the way we played was amazing, really good, it gave people joy.”

Van de Beek good enough for Real Madrid – De Jong

With reports suggesting Van de Beek could join Real Madrid by the time the European transfer window closes at the end of the month, De Jong was asked about his ex-teammate’s potential move.

“I would prefer him to stay at Ajax because I wouldn’t have him as an opponent and Ajax would stay strong,” De Jong joked.

“But, no, of course, when it’s all settled, and if he moves to Madrid, I am really happy for him. I think he deserves it.

“He’s a great player. Then I will go see him in Spain!”

He added: “I am pretty sure he has the ability. I think he showed it last season in the Champions League, especially in the knockout rounds.

“I think he has shown to the world and everyone in Europe he has the ability to play at that level.”