Real Madrid vs Barcelona, El Clasico: 'Important to win, but it won't decide the league,' says Frenkie de Jong
For 23-year-old Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, the upcoming fixture against Real Madrid is an important game to win. The former Ajax star, who signed with the La Liga club in 2019, had always dreamt of being at FC Barcelona as a kid, and he understands the importance of a Clasico.
But he has not won one yet as a player despite making three Clasico appearances in his career so far. The first one had ended in a goalless draw in December 2019.
Following the insipid encounter, Real Madrid have got the better of the Catalans in the next two Clasicos in which De Jong was named in the starting XI.
So, is there pressure on him ahead of his fourth Clasico to get off the mark as a player?
"I think when there is a Clasico, there is always a lot of pressure. So, it will be no different than the other Clasicos, but of course, we are looking for the win," the 23-year-old Dutch international replied to this query posed by Hindustan Times during a virtual media call on Thursday.
This time around though, the teams will face each other at a time when the La Liga contest has heated up.
Currently, Atletico Madrid just have their neck ahead of the two teams and are sitting at the top with 66 points in the table.
Barca are just one point behind the table-toppers, while Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid are in the third position at 63 points. With nine more games to go, it is anyone game at the moment.
On being asked if the Clasico can eventually set the momentum for either of the two teams to eventually go on and win the title, De Jong stressed that the match will not decide the league.
"I think it's really important to win the Clasico, because if we win the Clasico, we will get closer to our goal. But I think it's not decisive," he responded.
"If we win or lose, it does not mean we will win the title or if we lose, it does not mean we lose the title. But that being said, of course, it is very important to get the three points," he further added.
De Jong has grown into one of the most important members of manager Ronald Koeman's 3-5-2 team formation, and while he has been used as a central defender, he insisted that he prefers playing in the midfield position.
"I don't see myself playing as a center-back throughout my career. I have said before, I prefer playing as a midfielder," De Jong signed off.