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Luuk de Jong’s Barcelona Journey: Embracing Challenges and Making an Impact

Luuk de Jong / The Guardian
Luuk de Jong / The Guardian

Luuk de Jong reflects on his time with Barcelona.

Stepping into the illustrious halls of Barcelona, Luuk de Jong faced a unique set of circumstances, arriving just after the departure of Lionel Messi. In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, de Jong reflects on his role within the team, the influence of Xavi, and the pride he feels in his contributions to the club.

“It was very strange,” de Jong recalls, reminiscing about joining Barcelona in the wake of Messi’s departure. “Of course, I was not brought in as his direct replacement. No one can replace that man,” he emphasizes, acknowledging the enormity of Messi’s legacy. Despite this, de Jong found himself occupying Messi’s former spot in the dressing room—a symbolic gesture that he cherishes.

However, de Jong’s journey at Barcelona took a positive turn under the guidance of Xavi. “He told me I can leave, but I decided to stay,” de Jong reveals, recounting a pivotal conversation with the Barcelona legend. Determined to prove himself, de Jong went on to score crucial goals for the team, often utilizing his aerial prowess with powerful headers. The culmination of his efforts was the resounding chants of his name echoing throughout Camp Nou, a moment of pride for the Dutch striker.

“At one point they sang my name at Camp Nou at every corner or free-kick,” de Jong recalls with a sense of fulfillment. “You wouldn’t think it gets better than that. I am very proud of that,” he adds, highlighting the significance of the fans’ recognition.

Despite the challenges and uncertainties surrounding his arrival, Luuk de Jong has embraced his role as a target man for Barcelona, leaving an indelible mark on the club’s storied history. As he continues his journey on the pitch, de Jong remains steadfast in his commitment to contributing to Barcelona’s success, one goal at a time.