Frenkie de Jong has achieved “something exceptional” in his debut campaign at Barcelona, says Ronald de Boer, with Matthijs de Ligt’s struggles at Juventus held up in comparison.
The highly-rated Netherlands international headed for the exits at Ajax during the summer of 2019, with the Liga giants spending big to acquire his potential.
In the same window, a team-mate for club and country was also lured away from Amsterdam and onto the books of a European superpower.
De Jong has not been spectacular at Barca, but he has been steady and settled quickly in new surroundings while offering plenty of promise when it comes to finding his best role at Camp Nou.
De Ligt, meanwhile, has failed to make the expected impact at Juventus, with the 20-year-old dropping to the bench at times in what remains a steep learning curve for him.
Former Ajax and Barcelona star De Boer told BarcaBlog when offering his assessment of two highly-rated countrymen: “I think De Jong has adapted well to Barca, look De Ligt at Juventus…
“Playing so much for a young player in his first year is something exceptional.
“People say that he has not reached the level he reached at Ajax and the Netherlands, but there are not many who can play in a team as strong as Barcelona and I think he has worked well.”
De Boer added on a 23-year-old midfielder that he sees filling the boots of a World Cup-winning Barcelona icon: “I hope he returns to his usual position because he is a distributor of the game.
“He is in charge of passing the ball, you cannot ask him to score 20 goals. He is a player like Sergio Busquets and when the time comes he will be a great substitute for him.”
While De Jong has maintained his development, De Ligt is considered to have stumbled somewhat.
De Boer admits as much, with the Bianconeri defender still searching for a spark in Serie A.
“He has had more problems at Juventus,” added De Boer.
“I had hoped that De Ligt would adapt much more easily and start immediately. Instead the opposite happened. That’s why I think De Jong has done well in his first season at Barcelona.”
De Jong has taken in 37 appearances for Barcelona across all competitions in 2019-20, recording two goals, while De Ligt has seen 27 outings for Juventus.