Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong says he never doubted he would be ready to build the intensity once joining the Catalan champions from Ajax this summer.
The 22-year-old completed the transfer from Amsterdam once enjoying a leading role within the Eredivisie side’s run to the Champions League semi-finals last year, though he did take a while to adapt to his new surroundings in La Liga.
But Barca will enjoy Christmas 2 points away from Real Madrid at the highest of the table, and undefeated in ten games in every competition – with de Jong working in nicely.
“I had truly expected that they intensity from Ajax wouldn’t be that huge,” he told de Telegraaf.
“I grasp what level we have a tendency to achieve last season.
“There is even additional quality here; I play with even larger players, a number of whom area unit in fact terribly special because of their exceptional qualities, like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Sergio Busquets.
“Despite those huge names, I never doubted I might build the intensity.”
De Jong endured some shaky start every now and then early within the season, as manager Ernesto Valverde struggled to search out the correct balance in midfield.
Despite this, he has competed in each game within the league and Champions League, solely ranging from the bench on 3 occasions.
“I have been here in Barcelona for nearly half a year currently and also the enjoying time is simply nice,” he added.
“I have been ready to play heaps and that I am terribly pleased with that.
“Every minute on the pitch appears like a bonus. I get pleasure from it each day; anytime I’m going to training, I feel comfy.
“Everything at Barca is basically nice and that I notice that. As a team, we have a tendency to aren’t playing badly, however, we’ve got to do higher.
“Every currently so we have a tendency to area unit a touch too unsure on the ball.
“Sometimes our soccer is extremely stunning, so a game later you raise yourself wherever that properness and sensible feeling has gone.
“I am terribly happy generally.”
But, even months afterward, Ajax’s unpunctual elimination from the Champions League semi-finals still stings.
“If you recall, it’s been an insane year,” he admitted.
“The last seconds of the semi-final against Spurs were haunting me for a protracted time.
“Our elimination still feels unjust and unnecessary.
“Our sensible performances and also the stunning victories at Real Madrid, Juventus and away at Spurs ought to are topped with the Champions League final.
“Then 2019 would are excellent as a result of no one thought that a Dutch team might ever get that so much.”