“Luuk De Jong looks great at the start of the year”
ONENEWS.MY.ID – Xavi has advised Luuk de Jong to stay at Barcelona, after giving his side three important points against Real Mallorca. The Dutch player became the only goal scorer for the Blaugrana.
De Jong’s loan from Sevilla is expected to be terminated this January. In which, the forward is rumored to be joining fellow LaLiga club Cadiz for the rest of the season.
However, the tall player was installed by Xavi when he met Mallorca when Barca returned to action on Sunday, due to the storm of COVID-19 cases in the Barcelona camp.
After twice hitting the crossbar, De Jong finally scored his second league goal of the season with a header in the 44th minute to seal the Catalans’ 1-0 victory.
In doing so, he became the first Barca player besides Lionel Messi to score twice in a single LaLiga game since August 2019.
While Xavi is still waiting for other players to return to fitness, the coach who was recently appointed to replace Koeman, has hinted that De Jong may remain at Camp Nou for the remainder of 2021-22.
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“He is an example of a professional,” Xavi said at his post-match press conference. “It says he can get out, but he works, he sacrifices himself. He is a great professional.
“I’m happy with him. Of course I consider him staying because today he was useful to us. He is an example for everyone.
“Depending on how you train, you will play. We will see the future. We will see if there is a way in and out. But it is all just a hypothesis.”
De Jong has scored eight headed goals in all competitions since the 2019-20 season, a record surpassed only by Karim Benzema (13), Ante Budimir (11) and Youssef En-Nesyri (nine) among LaLiga players in all competitions.
It was also Barca’s seventh headed goal in LaLiga this season, which is the most goals of any team and the same number they have achieved in their last 38 league games.
That winning moment helped Barca to a second win in six games in all competitions as they moved up to fifth in LaLiga and just one point adrift of fourth-placed Atletico Madrid.
Xavi was pleased with the fighting spirit shown by his team, although victory would not have been possible had it not been for an impressive save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen to thwart Juame Costa’s effort in added time.
“There are three gold points,” he said. “The way we played, and the situation we played in, it’s a family win. We have shown that we know how to suffer.
“We had a very good first half and showed a lot of personality. We are on the rise.
“We wanted the game to be stopped but I’m proud of the team, and proud of Marc. We need it. He stopped the goal at the end and saved us.
“But the young players in the team also helped us a lot. They have the right mentality and are ready. These three points put us in the race for the top spot.”
Barcelona youth player Riqui Puiq
Riqui Puig is one of many young players on display for Barca, an academy product making his 50th appearance for the club in all competitions.
He completed 66 of his 69 passes for a 96 percent passing accuracy that no other Barcelona player could match on the day.
“Riqui is very good,” said Xavi. “Like the others, like [Oscar] Mingueza and [Ferran] Jutgla. They have all worked hard for the team and it is interesting for us.
“This is the way forward and this victory is an example.”
Dani Alves and Jordi Alba missed Sunday’s win after testing positive for the coronavirus, but the pair have returned negative tests and have been given the green light to return to training from Monday.