Frenkie de Jong admits he was pressured to leave Barcelona by Joan Laporta

Tom Gott
De Jong's future is up in the air
De Jong's future is up in the air / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has confessed that he was pressured to leave the club this summer by president Joan Laporta.

One of the club's top earners, De Jong was high on Manchester United's wish list this summer but was adamant he did not want to leave Camp Nou, not least without being paid the significant deferred wages he was due from the club.

Publicly, Laporta claimed he wanted De Jong to stay but repeatedly argued that the Dutchman would need to agree to a pay cut if he wanted to do so. By the time the window closed, De Jong remained at Barcelona on the same contract as before.

Speaking to Ziggo Sport, De Jong reflected on his treatment from Laporta.

"I was calm. I decided in May that I wanted to stay," De Jong began. "My opinion never changed during the whole period. I remained calm.

"But then, you know, the pressure started coming. From the newspapers, from the president...from everywhere, in fact.

"But I wanted to stay at Barça, so it never bothered me."

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25-year-old De Jong, whose contract runs until 2026, has struggled for minutes at Camp Nou this season. He has made seven appearances in La Liga but just three of those have come as a starter, with head coach Xavi often preferring the pairing of Gavi and Pedri in midfield.

De Jong has only managed one start in the Champions League as well, against Victoria Plzen in the opening round of fixtures, and has instead come off the bench against both Bayern Munich and Inter.

"I knew [Xavi] would give me fewer minutes at the beginning of the season," De Jong acknowledged. "I want to be a starter again.

"Against Bayern, I wasn't a starter but I hope to be against Real Madrid."