Frenkie De Jong Explains The Importance Of Wearing The No.21 Shirt At Barcelona
Frenkie De Jong wants to continue wearing the No.21 shirt at Barcelona as a tribute to his late grandfather.
AS say that the 22-year old was offered the coveted No.14 jersey famously worn by the one and only Johan Cruyff at both Ajax and the Blaugrana.
But the Dutch international turned it down as he wishes to carve his own legacy and wants to wear #21 - a number he has worn on the pitch since his grandad passed away on his 21st birthday.
"I feel comfortable with that number," De Jong told Voetbal International.
"I could easily play with another number, you know, it's not a problem, but it is nice that it also gives people a way of recognising me.
"I brought my whole family to my presentation in Barcelona, except my grandfather Hans de Jong, my father's father. He died on the day of my 21st birthday. Unconsciously it is also a kind of tribute. He was a huge football fan."
For De Jong to keep the same number he would require teammate Carles Alena to switch numbers - though the likes of 16, 17, 19, 24 and 25 are all available.
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In February, De Jong explained how Nike wanted him to have his first name on the back of his Barcelona shirt for marketing reasons.
"There is an idea to play with 'Frenkie' on the back of the shirt. Nike prefers that from the point of view of merchandising. I'm not sure if I want to," he explained to Het Kontakt.
The classy midfielder is a "Nike athlete" and according to ESPN, the american sportswear giant are to cover a "large amount" of during his time at the Nou Camp.
However,he has rejected Nike's request and will play with his surname on the back as opposed to his forename.
De Jong was officially unveiled as a Barcelona player last week after the deal was announced in the middle of last season.
But the 22-year old made the revelation that he envisaged a move to Arsenal before ending up in Catalonia.
"I actually thought Arsenal was pretty beautiful in the past," he said. "In my mind I have had the following list for a long time: Ajax-Arsenal-Barcelona, call it the Marc Overmars route.
"But yes, if you can go directly to Barcelona, then you are also right where you want to be. Faster than you ever dared to dream."
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