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Frenkie de Jong is about to experience his first Clásico. The Dutch footballer, who already faced Real Madrid in last season's Champions League whilst playing for Ajax, explained his feelings in the lead up to this Wednesday's game at the Camp Nou in an interview with the club's media.
His first Clásico
"Last year's match with Ajax was very special, but now it's another game and I'm on another team, so it will be different. I’m really excited as it will be my first Clásico. I’ve followed all the others on television and the one I enjoyed the most was the 5-0 at the Camp Nou.”
"It's the same on the day - playing against Real Madrid is always special. Also, my family will come to see me, and they’ll surely experience a spectacular atmosphere.”
The game in his head
"Two of the best teams in the world will come together on the pitch. We will try to dominate the game, as we always do. I don't know how they will approach it, but we will do things the same way as any other game: having possession, creating many chances and providing enjoyment for the Barça fans."
"The league is very even and I think that's good because there will be more tension."
The match against Madrid with Ajax
"It was a very special game for us. In fact, I would say that the best we played was at the Santiago Bernabéu. It was a surprise to everyone who was watching the game. The 1-4 at their stadium, eliminating them and playing good football... I have a good memory of that match."
The Dutch Clásico
"In Holland we also have a Clásico, which is the match that Ajax and Feyenoord play. It has less impact than what is being played here, but in the Netherlands everyone talks about it. The atmosphere is different from the other matches. You can feel the tension at the stadium... These are the games that a player always wants to play in.''
Victories against Dortmund and Atlético
"They are wins that help us grow as a team because they are usually very difficult. You gain confidence when you win them and even more so if the team plays well. I think we can still play better but the team is evolving and we are playing better in every game."
"To win against Atlético Madrid, which is always very difficult, gave us a lot of confidence."
Fortress Camp Nou
"Playing at the Camp Nou helps us a lot. Our opponents also notice it, and they know it’s the biggest stadium in Europe. This season, especially, we're doing well as hosts, and hopefully we continue to win games here and score a lot of goals for our fans.”
Messi and Suárez
"Everyone knows how important Messi is to us. It’s no longer surprising if he scores three goals in a match. He’s so much better than the rest. Any team that faces Messi is always more nervous, I would be too."
"Suárez is having an amazing season and is scoring wonderful goals. He got a hat-trick last year against Real Madrid and hopefully he does it again this season.”
The difference between LaLiga and Eredivisie
"I think the level of football in the Spanish League is higher than in the Netherlands. Here, for example, most teams try to play by building from the back, and there not so much. Plus, the rivals in the league are tougher, which is a lot better because everyone wants to win.”
"In the beginning there is always a period of adaptation, but in these first months at Barça I’ve felt more confident and more comfortable. Everyone has helped me a lot, even the people on the street - I've been very welcome from the beginning. I already knew the city because I’d come on vacation. My team-mates have recommended places to visit or eat and I feel at home.”
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