In 2015 Frenkie De Jong Travelled To The Nou Camp, Tonight He Made His Barcelona Debut
A lot can happen in four years, as 22-year old midfielder Frenkie de Jong can attest to.
In November 2015, De Jong and his other half Mikky Kiemeney made the trip to Catalonia - and specifically the Nou Camp - to see the mighty Barcelona in action.
In 2015, Frenkie de Jong went to a Barca game as a fan. Today he'll make his debut for them. pic.twitter.com/d92KKZdSTM- ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 16, 2019
Frenkie de Jong is living his dream. :heart: pic.twitter.com/OXshQTP6DR- SPORTbible (@sportbible) January 24, 2019
De Jong was merely a spectator, hoping to be entertained by the many geniuses in the Blaugrana starting XI. Fast forward just less than four years and he is now one of those geniuses.
He signed a five-year contract in January this year as part of a £65 million move but saw out with the season with Ajax in order to lift the Eredivisie before joining up with his teammates this summer.
And after making a huge impression in pre-season, De Jong made his official Barca debut in the opening game of the season against Athletic Bilbao.
He did so wearing the No.21 - a number that has a lot of personal meaning attached to it for him as 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."
Carles Alena, previous No.21 for Barcelona, had to switch numbers to No.19 and did so despite not being best pleased about it.
He said: "They promised him it without telling me anything. Frenkie is a good guy and humble. I don't feel good because I've always behaved well with the club, we have good communication. They just needed to drop me a message."