Frenkie de Jong

Why Do People Hate Frenkie de Jong?

Frenkie de Jong, the Dutch midfielder, has been a topic of discussion and controversy in the world of football. Despite his undeniable talent and potential, he has faced a considerable amount of criticism and even hatred from some fans and pundits.

This article delves into the various reasons why people hate Frenkie de Jong and explores the factors that contribute to this polarizing opinion.

The Transfer Saga

One of the primary reasons for the animosity towards Frenkie de Jong stems from the drawn-out transfer saga that surrounded his move from Ajax to Barcelona in the summer of 2019. The Spanish giants were determined to secure the services of the highly-rated Dutch midfielder, and they went to great lengths to make the deal happen.

Barcelona agreed to pay a staggering €75 million (plus €11 million in add-ons) to Ajax for De Jong’s services, making it one of the most expensive transfers for a midfielder at the time. This hefty price tag, combined with the protracted negotiations, led to a sense of frustration and impatience among some Barcelona fans, who felt that the club was overpaying for a player who had yet to prove himself at the highest level.

Wage Structure Controversy

The controversy surrounding De Jong’s transfer was further fueled by reports of a substantial wage package offered to the Dutchman by Barcelona. It was rumored that the club had promised De Jong a significant salary increase and lucrative bonuses, which caused concerns among fans about the club’s financial stability and wage structure.

This perceived preferential treatment towards De Jong, coupled with the high transfer fee, led to a backlash from some Barcelona supporters, who believed that the club had prioritized the signing of the Dutch midfielder over addressing other pressing needs within the squad.

Perceived Underperformance

Another factor contributing to the hatred towards Frenkie de Jong is the perceived gap between the expectations surrounding his arrival and his actual performances on the pitch. After his impressive displays for Ajax, where he played a pivotal role in their remarkable run to the Champions League semi-finals in the 2018-19 season, the expectations for De Jong at Barcelona were sky-high.

However, since joining the Catalan club, De Jong has struggled to consistently maintain the same level of performance that he exhibited at Ajax. While he has shown flashes of brilliance, his impact has been somewhat diminished, leading to criticism from fans and pundits who expected him to immediately become a game-changer for Barcelona.

Adaptability Challenges

Part of De Jong’s perceived underperformance can be attributed to the challenges he faced in adapting to a new playing style and tactical system at Barcelona. While at Ajax, he thrived in a possession-based, free-flowing style of play, the more structured and rigid approach at Barcelona initially posed difficulties for the Dutchman.

Additionally, the intense competition for starting places in Barcelona’s star-studded midfield, which includes players like Sergio Busquets, Pedri, and Gavi, has made it challenging for De Jong to cement his place in the team consistently.

High Expectations and Criticism

The immense expectations placed on De Jong, fueled by his hefty transfer fee and wage package, have also contributed to the criticism and hatred he has faced. Any perceived underperformance or inconsistency from the Dutchman has been magnified and scrutinized, leading to harsh criticism from fans and pundits alike.

Some have accused De Jong of not living up to his potential or failing to justify the significant investment made by Barcelona, while others have questioned his suitability for the club’s playing style and philosophy.

Attitude and Personality

Beyond his on-field performances, De Jong’s attitude and perceived lack of passion have also been cited as reasons for the hatred directed towards him. Some fans and pundits have criticized the Dutchman for appearing nonchalant and lacking the necessary intensity and determination expected of a Barcelona player.

His laid-back demeanor and calm personality have been interpreted by some as a lack of commitment or desire to succeed, which has rubbed some fans the wrong way, especially in a club with such a passionate and demanding fan base.

Off-field Controversies

De Jong’s off-field conduct has also come under scrutiny, with some incidents contributing to the negative perception surrounding him. For instance, his decision to attend a music festival shortly after Barcelona’s elimination from the Champions League in the 2021-22 season drew criticism from fans who felt that he should have been more focused on the team’s performance.

Additionally, his reluctance to accept a wage reduction during Barcelona’s financial struggles in 2022 was seen by some as a lack of loyalty and commitment to the club, further fueling the animosity towards him.

Club vs. Country Debate

Another factor that has contributed to the hatred towards De Jong is the perceived disparity in his performances for Barcelona and the Netherlands national team. While he has often struggled to showcase his best form at the club level, De Jong has consistently excelled for the Dutch national team, leading some to question his commitment and dedication to Barcelona.

This perceived discrepancy has led to debates and accusations of De Jong prioritizing his national team over his club, which has not sat well with some Barcelona supporters who expect unwavering loyalty and commitment from their players.

Tactical and Positional Concerns

One of the criticisms leveled at De Jong is related to his positioning and role within Barcelona’s midfield. Some pundits and fans have argued that the Dutchman’s strengths are not being fully utilized in his current role, which has led to questions about his suitability for the team’s tactical setup.

There have been debates about whether De Jong is better suited to a more advanced midfield role, where he can influence the game with his creative passing and dribbling abilities, or if he should be deployed in a deeper, more defensive-minded position, where his composure and reading of the game can be better utilized.

Tactical Inflexibility

Another aspect of the criticism towards De Jong revolves around his perceived lack of tactical flexibility. Some analysts have argued that the Dutchman struggles to adapt to different tactical systems or playing styles, which can limit his impact and make him a less versatile option for the team.

This perceived inflexibility has led to questions about his long-term suitability for Barcelona, especially in a modern game where tactical adaptability and versatility are highly valued.

Defensive Concerns

While De Jong’s offensive qualities have been widely praised, his defensive contributions have often been questioned. Some critics have argued that the Dutchman lacks the necessary defensive discipline and awareness to excel in a more defensive-minded midfield role, which has led to concerns about his overall suitability for Barcelona’s system.

These defensive shortcomings have been highlighted in games where Barcelona has struggled to control the midfield or faced intense pressure from opponents, leading to accusations of De Jong being a liability in certain tactical situations.

Fan Expectations and Bias

It’s important to acknowledge that some of the hatred towards Frenkie de Jong may stem from unrealistic expectations placed on him by fans and pundits. As a highly-rated and expensive signing, there was an expectation that De Jong would immediately transform Barcelona’s midfield and become an instant superstar.

However, the reality is that adapting to a new club, system, and playing style can take time, and even the most talented players can experience periods of inconsistency or struggle to find their best form immediately.

Fan Bias and Scapegoating

In times of underperformance or disappointment, fans and pundits often seek scapegoats to direct their frustrations towards. De Jong’s hefty transfer fee and wage package, combined with his perceived underperformance, have made him an easy target for criticism and hatred from some quarters.

Additionally, fan bias and preconceived notions can also play a role in shaping opinions towards certain players. Some fans may have formed negative impressions of De Jong based on his personality, attitude, or perceived lack of passion, regardless of his actual performances on the pitch.

Media Narratives and Sensationalism

It’s also worth considering the role that media narratives and sensationalism play in fueling the hatred towards Frenkie de Jong. In the age of 24/7 sports coverage and social media, negative stories and controversies often receive disproportionate attention, shaping public opinion and fan perceptions.

Some media outlets may have a vested interest in portraying De Jong in a negative light, as controversy and hatred generate more engagement and attention than objective analysis or balanced reporting.

Impact on De Jong’s Career

The constant criticism and hatred directed towards Frenkie de Jong can undoubtedly take a toll on his confidence and mental wellbeing. No player is immune to the pressure and scrutiny that comes with playing for a club like Barcelona, and the intense negativity surrounding De Jong could potentially impact his performances and overall development.

Players who face such intense criticism and hatred may struggle to perform at their best, as the negative attention can be a significant distraction and source of stress.

Transfer Speculation and Uncertainty

The ongoing criticism and negativity surrounding De Jong have also fueled speculation about his future at Barcelona. There have been persistent rumors and reports linking the Dutchman with a potential move away from the club, as some fans and pundits have questioned whether he is the right fit for Barcelona’s long-term plans.

This transfer speculation and uncertainty can be unsettling for a player, potentially affecting their focus and commitment to their current club.

Strained Relationship with Fans

The hatred directed towards Frenkie de Jong has likely strained his relationship with a significant portion of Barcelona’s fan base. While some fans may remain supportive and appreciative of his talents, others have become increasingly critical and resentful towards the Dutchman.

This strained relationship can create an uncomfortable and potentially toxic environment for De Jong, making it challenging for him to truly feel at home and appreciated at the club he represents.

Tables and Statistics

To provide further context and support the analysis, here are some relevant tables and statistics:

Transfer Fee Breakdown

PlayerTransfer FeeSelling ClubBuying ClubYear
Frenkie de Jong€75 million (+ €11 million add-ons)AjaxBarcelona2019
Paul Pogba€105 millionJuventusManchester United2016
Virgil van Dijk€84.65 millionSouthamptonLiverpool2018
Kepa Arrizabalaga€80 millionAthletic BilbaoChelsea2018

As shown in the table, De Jong’s transfer fee was one of the highest for a midfielder at the time, contributing to the scrutiny and high expectations placed on him.

Performance Statistics (2022-23 Season)

PlayerGamesGoalsAssistsPasses per GamePass Accuracy
Frenkie de Jong484374.591.3%
Sergio Busquets430369.890.1%

While De Jong’s passing statistics are impressive, his goal and assist contributions have been relatively modest, potentially contributing to the perception of underperformance among some critics.


The hatred directed towards Frenkie de Jong is a complex issue with multiple contributing factors. From the drawn-out transfer saga and wage structure controversy to his perceived underperformance and adaptability challenges, the Dutchman has faced intense scrutiny and criticism since joining Barcelona.

Additionally, his perceived lack of passion, off-field controversies, and the perceived disparity between his performances for club and country have further fueled the negativity surrounding him. Tactical and positional concerns, as well as unrealistic fan expectations and media narratives, have also played a role in shaping the negative perception towards De Jong.

It’s important to recognize that while criticism can be valid and constructive, hatred and excessive negativity can have detrimental effects on a player’s confidence, mental wellbeing, and overall career trajectory. De Jong’s situation highlights the need for a more balanced and objective assessment of players, taking into account the various factors and challenges they face.

Ultimately, the hatred towards Frenkie de Jong serves as a cautionary tale about the pressures and scrutiny that come with playing for a prestigious club like Barcelona. It underscores the importance of managing expectations, fostering a supportive environment, and encouraging a more nuanced and empathetic understanding of player performances and struggles.


Why did Barcelona spend so much money on Frenkie de Jong?

Barcelona invested heavily in Frenkie de Jong due to his immense potential and impressive performances for Ajax. The club saw him as a long-term solution in their midfield and were willing to pay a premium to secure his services.

Has Frenkie de Jong lived up to expectations at Barcelona?

There are differing opinions on whether De Jong has lived up to expectations at Barcelona. While he has shown flashes of brilliance, his consistency and impact have been questioned by some fans and pundits, leading to criticism and perceived underperformance.

Why do some fans criticize Frenkie de Jong’s attitude and passion?

Some fans and pundits have criticized De Jong for appearing nonchalant and lacking the necessary intensity and passion expected of a Barcelona player. His laid-back demeanor and calm personality have been interpreted by some as a lack of commitment or desire to succeed.

What tactical and positional concerns have been raised about Frenkie de Jong?

There have been debates about whether De Jong is better suited to a more advanced midfield role or a deeper, defensive-minded position. Additionally, concerns have been raised about his perceived lack of tactical flexibility and defensive discipline.

How has the hatred towards Frenkie de Jong affected his career and mental wellbeing?

The constant criticism and hatred directed towards De Jong can undoubtedly take a toll on his confidence and mental wellbeing. It can also fuel transfer speculation, strain his relationship with fans, and potentially impact his performances and overall development.

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