Barcelona are reportedly open to "big-money" offers for Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong.

De Jong, who has 40 caps for the Netherlands, arrived at Barcelona from Ajax for a €75million fee in 2019, accumulating 137 appearances for the club in all competitions.

The midfielder has been a key pillar in Barcelona's line-up this season, appearing 44 times, but the Catalan giants may be ready to move on as the interest from United intensifies.

TOP STORY – BARCA ARE CONSIDERING OFFERS FOR DE JONG

The Blaugrana are open-minded about potentially parting ways with De Jong, who is being closely linked with his former Ajax coach Erik ten Hag for his new venture at United.

He is one of the main players on the Red Devils' wish-list, which Fichajes reports also includes Southampton's James Ward-Prowse, Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia and West Ham's Jarrod Bowen.

The Telegraph adds that Ten Hag has identified eight players "he can trust" at the club, while being on the fence about Marcus Rashford's future.

ROUND-UP

– L'Equipe is reporting RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku would like to leave the club after this season, with a desire to head to Manchester City, United, Paris Saint-Germain or Milan

Newcastle United have met with the agent of Watford's Ismaila Sarr but will have to match the club's £40million asking price, per FootballTransfers.

Bayer Leverkusen are planning a move for PSG youngster Eric-Junior Dina Ebimbe after failing to secure the deal during the January transfer window, according to RMC Sport.

– Sport is reporting Samuel Umtiti will leave Barcelona in the next transfer window and wants to return to Lyon, who will be competing for his services with Rennes, Montpellier and Nice

– Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is unlikely to sign an extension with the club and could be sold in the next transfer window with his contract set to expire in 2023, according to The Times.

Xavi said Barcelona's 2-1 win over Real Mallorca gives them "peace of mind" in their hunt for Champions League qualification, and hailed Memphis Depay's attitude after he opened the scoring with a stunning volley.

Having lost three consecutive matches at Camp Nou for just the second time in their illustrious history, the Blaugrana bounced back through excellent goals from Depay and Sergio Busquets, holding on for the win after Antonio Raillo pulled a goal back late on.

The Catalan giants have now won five of their last seven games in LaLiga to open up a nine-point lead over fifth-placed Real Betis in the race for Champions League football, moving up to second in the table.

Although Xavi insisted his team should have won the match more comfortably, he was pleased after picking up a crucial win in their quest to wrap up a top-four finish.

"It was a 3-0 match and we have to finish more satisfied, we have committed an unnecessary foul and they have scored the goal. It is a game to win [more] comfortably," he said after the victory.

"[But] the three points give us peace of mind. Now we have a league of five teams to enter the Champions League, which we have to win."

Depay's fantastic volleyed opener represented his 11th goal of the season in LaLiga – more than any other Barcelona player, and while Xavi was not willing to discuss whether the attacker had a future at Camp Nou, he insisted the 28-year-old deserved to play after showing great application in training.

"There is no talk of the future. Memphis has played because he trains very well, and maybe because another player had lowered his arms," he added. "We had worked on the play for the first goal.

"We want players with his attitude. I'm happy for him because it's possible that we were unfair at times with him. But if he trains like this, he has to participate."

Depay's Netherlands team-mate Frenkie de Jong, meanwhile, played the full 90 minutes after reacting angrily to being substituted in Barca's defeat to Rayo Vallecano last time out.

But the 24-year-old, who has been linked with a move away from Catalonia in recent weeks, said he has had positive discussions with Xavi since that incident and hopes Barcelona can compete with newly-crowned champions Real Madrid for the league title next term.

"The conversation with Xavi went well," De Jong said. "I have confidence in myself and the coach has told me that he also has confidence in me. I don't think too much is demanded of me, the pressure is always good and it's never too much.

"We were better and we deserved the victory. We played quite well, although we can always improve a lot. But it was important to win after defeats and we are happy with that.

"We are second, the first objective is to qualify for the Champions League, and then to be second to play in the [Spanish] Super Cup.

"It is frustrating, not fighting for the league, but we have not been good this year and that is why we have not been able to compete with them [Madrid]. We hope to do so next year."

Ansu Fati will feature for Barcelona against Real Mallorca for the first time in three months after sustaining a hamstring injury, Blaugrana coach Xavi confirmed.

Barca have lost their last three home games in all competitions for just the second time in history, last doing so under Louis van Gaal between the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons.

Defeat against Rayo Vallecano, who became the first promoted team to complete a LaLiga double over Barca since Salamanca in 1997-98, left Xavi's side in third – 15 points behind leaders Real Madrid.

While Madrid need just a point against Espanyol on Saturday to secure the title, Barca will be boosted by the return of Fati against Mallorca on Sunday.

The 19-year-old has suffered an injury-hit campaign, last featuring in January – and not at all in LaLiga since November – managing just five league appearances this season for his 213 minutes of action.

"We will give the squad list and Ansu will be there," Xavi told reporters at a pre-match news conference. 

"He feels very comfortable and is making efforts to return. He will play at least a few minutes. He is happy, he is smiling, a special player.

"We take great care of him, we know he is a special player. For now the feelings are very good, peaks of speed, physically very good."

Fati will return to a Barca side that has scored with only one of the last 46 shots they have attempted in LaLiga, and with one of their last 57 at Camp Nou in the competition.

However, Xavi insists his side need to collectively respond instead of relying on the teenager to make things happen when he features.

"The focus has to be on the team. I understand football as a collective game. If it's only one player, when he fails the team doesn't shoot," he added.

"Everyone has to shoot. Ansu is a different player, he has to be very important from now on.

"But there is no specific focus on him or anyone, I have never understood it that way."

Barca will be without midfielder Pedri as the talented youngster continues to recover from a hamstring injury sustained against Eintracht Frankfurt earlier in April.

The Blaugrana have won eight of 10 LaLiga games that Pedri has started, in comparison to just 10 victories in 23 league games without the Spain international in the starting line-up this season.

Xavi provided a positive update on Pedri as he suggested he may be without centre-back Gerard Pique against Mallorca.

"Pedri is training separately and has a good feeling," he added. "Pique has a tendon problem. We'll see tomorrow, today he was more sore.

"Nico [Gonzalez] broke his finger in a collision with Ansu. A shame because we don't have plenty of midfielders, but that's football."

One midfielder that could leave his mark, though, is the out of favour Frenkie de Jong, who was seemingly unhappy after his substitution in Barca's last game.

"We had a very good face-to-face talk," Xavi said of De Jong. 

"It's obvious that this change frustrated him, but I have to look out for the team. He's had excellent games, but he has to be constant.

"He's capable and is here to make a difference. He's a very important player for the present and for the future".

Ronald Koeman has called on former club Barcelona to show Xavi more support than he received in the Camp Nou dugout and defended his own record with the Blaugrana.

Koeman spent just over a year in the Camp Nou dugout before being sacked in October 2021, winning the Copa del Ray last season but overseeing a third-place finish in LaLiga and the departure of legendary attacker Lionel Messi.

Barca sat ninth in the top flight when the Dutchman departed, but are now favourites to secure Champions League qualification after Xavi oversaw an upturn in results. 

However, the Catalan giants recently lost three successive home games for just the second time in their illustrious history, and Koeman says club president Joan Laporta must show Xavi more support than he was granted during his own spell in charge.

"The situation of Barca, of the team and of the club, is the same as when I was [there]," he said at a golf event in Barcelona. "It means that changing the coach does not always mean being able to improve. The situation of the club hurts me.

"From January I will be the coach of the Netherlands, but I ask for maximum support for Xavi. He is a good coach, a legend at home and it is not his fault that Barca is in this situation.

"The only thing I ask is support for Xavi, I haven't had the full support of a president, I hope he [Laporta] has learned and does support Xavi. I didn't have support from the club and I hope Xavi does.

"Internally, you can say you have doubts, but on the outside there has to be support." 

Barca enjoyed an upturn in results after the January arrivals of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ferran Torres but rivals Real Madrid are now 15 points clear at the top of LaLiga.

Los Blancos will secure their 35th title by earning a point at home to Espanyol on Saturday after winning eight of their last nine league games (one loss), and Koeman says that gap is evidence that his time in charge was not a complete failure, highlighting financial difficulties and presidential elections as having a severe impact throughout his tenure.

 

"When I left, Madrid was eight points ahead and now the difference is almost double," he added. "I don't feel like a failed coach, far from it. 

"In January we were twelve points behind Atletico Madrid, we had the opportunity to be first against Granada and we failed. We kept the Copa and if you win a title it's not a failure.

"I spent many months without a president, I had to make statements about the club's situation, there was financial fair play [issues]. Then Messi and [Antoine] Griezmann left on the last day of the market. 

"I was heavily criticised for signing Luuk Jong, who is very good when you need a finisher. Luckily his goals have given five or six points in the last few minutes. I think that one person or a coach cannot be blamed for the loss of [the club's] DNA."

Koeman will reclaim his former position as Netherlands head coach after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar when he takes over from Louis van Gaal and will be reunited with Blaugrana midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

De Jong has come in for some criticism for his recent displays and has been linked with a move to Manchester United, but Koeman believes the 24-year-old will prove any doubters wrong.

"I don't think Barca wants to sell Frenkie, Xavi doesn't want to either," he added. "You don't have to doubt Frenkie de Jong, I don't doubt him and he's a starter in the national team. We put a player on top of everything and two weeks later we criticise him."

Jordi Cruyff declared "dreaming is free" when asked about the prospect of Barcelona signing Robert Lewandowski and says now is not the time to talk about Frenkie de Jong's future.

Lewandowski has only 14 months remaining on his Bayern Munich contract and has been linked with a move to Camp Nou.

Erling Haaland is also reportedly a target for the Blaugrana, but Manchester City are the favourites to land the Borussia Dortmund striker.

Barca technical director Cruyff on Wednesday stated the Catalan giants are keeping their options open in the transfer market.

He said at the inauguration of the Cruyff Court Constanti: "I haven't ruled out anyone. I'm not very willing to talk about names. There will be others who respond.

"The only thing you do is annoy the clubs where they play, I'm more concerned about the [current] squad. They're all great players."

Quizzed specifically about prolific Poland captain Lewandowski, Cruyff replied: "He is a player who has a contract, we are the last to decide. Dreaming is free."

 

De Jong's Barca future has been the subject of speculation, with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain thought to be keen on the midfielder.

Cruyff says the focus must be on securing Champions League qualification rather than potential transfer business.

He said: "They ask me about him because there is some criticism or doubt and I said that he is a highly valued player within the club and in the world of football and this is not the time to talk about this type of thing.

"We are in the middle of something that is above everyone, each one of us. We have to meet the minimum objectives and we are fighting for it."

Cruyff also revealed contract talks with Gavi and Ousmane Dembele are ongoing after Ronald Araujo signed a new deal this week.

"I think that these days or these weeks, it's time to work on them, we'll see if they end well or not," he said. "We're trying to achieve the same success as with Araujo."

Riyad Mahrez could reportedly be sold by Manchester City in the upcoming transfer window, and some of the world's biggest clubs are said to be targeting the Algerian.

Mahrez, 31, has won the Premier League on three occasions, including once with Leicester City, and will make it four this season if Pep Guardiola's team can hold on.

After 38 Premier League goals for Mahrez over four campaigns with City, he could be facing a new challenge next season.


TOP STORY – MAHREZ MOVE TO MAKE WAY FOR HAALAND

Fichajes.net is reporting that Mahrez is one of the players City could part ways with to help fund the purchase of Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

The report names Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus as the three most likely landing spots.

Mahrez has scored 23 goals and dished out eight assists in 42 appearances across all club competitions this season.


ROUND-UP

Real Madrid are said to be closing in on a deal to sign Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer. The Guardian is reporting his contract will be worth at least £200,000 per week.

– The Telegraph is reporting Manchester City are interested in making a move for West Ham's Declan Rice.

– According to Marca, Real Madrid remain favourites to land Kylian Mbappe when he is expected to leave Paris Saint-Germain in the next transfer window, but he will not make an official announcement until after the last game of his Ligue 1 season on May 21.

– Sky Sports News is reporting that Lionel Messi will remain at Paris Saint-Germain for at least one more season but that the French giants could consider letting Neymar move on.

– Barcelona would be willing to sell Frenkie de Jong for £58million, with Manchester United reportedly interested in bringing in the Dutch midfielder, according to El Chiringuito.

Arsenal's project under Mikel Arteta has taken positive steps this season, but the need for a striker remains.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette seemingly on the way out at the end of the season, that need could become even more pertinent.

If the Gunners achieve qualification for the Champions League however, Tammy Abraham's return to the Premier League could be on the cards.


TOP STORY – ARSENAL TO GO AFTER ABRAHAM

Arsenal are showing renewed interest in Tammy Abraham and are looking to bring him to the Emirates Stadium if they qualify for the Champions League, according to Star Sunday.

Mikel Arteta was very keen to sign the 24-year-old Abraham at the start of the season, before he left for Roma, who were able to guarantee a healthy salary and first-team football along with the chance to join Jose Mourinho.

Abraham has enjoyed a stellar first season in Serie A, contributing 15 goals and four assists in 33 league appearances.

While Chelsea can activate a buy-back clause at the end of the season, the Gunners would be willing to offer £50million (€59.5m) to secure Abraham's transfer.  


ROUND-UP

- West Ham have joined the race for Torino and Italy striker Andrea Belotti, whose contract expires at the end of the season, according to Fichajes.

- Real Madrid are in best position to sign German international Antonio Rudiger, who will leave Chelsea at the end of the season, Goal reports.

- Frenkie de Jong has been linked with a move to Manchester United, where he would reunite with incoming coach Erik ten Hag, per the Manchester Evening News.

- Ten Hag is also reportedly keen on signing Christian Eriksen, whose six-month deal with Brentford expires at the end of the season, according to Star Sunday.

Barcelona boss Xavi has highlighted the difficulties of competing for trophies after Lionel Messi's departure, but says the Catalan giants cannot afford to replicate the recent struggles of Manchester United.

The Blaugrana head into Sunday's match against Rayo Vallecano 15 points behind LaLiga leaders Real Madrid with just 18 points to play for, albeit the buffer to Real Betis in fourth is six.

After previous boss Ronald Koeman left the Catalan giants in ninth position, Xavi has overseen a revival of the team's fortunes and is looking to secure a top-four finish at the end of a transitional season for the club.

Although Xavi acknowledged Barcelona will need to be patient in their pursuit of trophies after losing legendary forward Messi to Paris Saint-Germain, he said the club cannot afford to miss out on Champions League football, highlighting the Red Devils as an example of a household name to have struggled to qualify for the competition.

"It's our reality. This is the post-[Lionel] Messi era, that's difficult in itself," Xavi told a news conference ahead of Sunday's clash with Rayo Vallecano. "He used to win games on his own. We have to be patient. I'm excited to win trophies, but we have to strengthen. We have to be realistic.

"We're in the first year of the post-Messi era, we have to be patient. We've seen a lot of great teams, like at Manchester United, [where] it's been hard for them to come back, to qualify for the Champions League. 

"Barca can't allow that. We have to fight for trophies, we want to compete."

Xavi's arrival has had a positive impact on the Camp Nou outfit, who had briefly threatened to challenge runaway leaders Madrid. 

Among the players to look rejuvenated under Xavi is Ousmane Dembele, whose nine league assists in 2022 place him level with former team-mate Messi as the most creative players in the top five European Leagues this calendar year.

Meanwhile, another of Xavi's trusted first-teamers, Frenkie de Jong, has been linked with a move to Old Trafford after his former Ajax coach Erik ten Hag was confirmed to be taking over from Ralf Rangnick at the end of this season.

Xavi, however, is desperate to keep hold of the midfielder "for many years", saying he has the talent to "mark an era" at Camp Nou.

"Frenkie is very important for me, for the club and for the team," Xavi added. "He is a footballer who has to mark an era, for his quality and personality.

"He is at a very good level since I arrived, and he has to continue scoring goals, [making] assists ... and being a protagonist in the games. He could be one of the best midfielders in the world in the coming years. 

"We have not commented on it [De Jong's future], but if it is up to me, he would continue for many years."

Despite a 1-1 draw against Germany on Tuesday, Netherlands coach Louis Van Gaal has been left satisfied with this international window.

The Oranje fell behind on the stroke of half-time through Thomas Muller's opener, which punctuated a dominant first half for Germany in Amsterdam.

Van Gaal's side regrouped and equalised thanks to substitute Steven Bergwijn, who gave the Netherlands added verve along with fellow substitutes Davy Klaasen and Georginio Wijnaldum in midfield.

Following a 4-2 win over Denmark on Saturday, the 70-year-old coach was ultimately pleased with the spirit his side showed.

"I think we've had a fantastic week," he said post-match. "We could have won twice. I don't think a draw against Germany is that bad. I think the public enjoyed the fight.

"Despite the dominance of the Germans in the first half, 0-0 at half-time would not have been crazy. Germany was very strong on the ball, but I think we were good defensively and didn't give away many chances, despite their dominance.

"In the second half we fought back and thanks to Frenkie de Jong we could play out under pressure from Germany. The crowd was also great in the second half. We scored a fantastic goal and could have also got a penalty, then we just win this game."

Losing the opening game of qualifying to eventual Group G runners-up Turkey in Istanbul, the Oranje went the rest of World Cup qualifying undefeated, including a 6-1 demolition in the return leg to claim a place at the Finals in Qatar.

Germany provided a necessary test for Van Gaal and his side, with the veteran tactician praising Die Mannschaft for causing them headaches.

"I understand that Memphis Depay didn't like the game, because he didn't have much of the ball," Van Gaal said post-match. "We weren't on the ball, especially in the first half. The guys who normally are and have to give balls to Memphis and [Donyell] Malen were not clean in passing, so we didn't have much time to attack in the first half.

"That also has to do with form and confidence, but that is also the quality of the German team who can intercept a lot of balls in midfield by applying well-grouped pressure."

Frenkie de Jong has insisted that missing out on Europa League glory this season would not be considered a failure for Barcelona.

The Catalan giants are more accustomed to challenging in the Champions League, but they missed out on a place in the knockout stages for the first time since 2003-04.

Barca passed their first test in UEFA's secondary club competition by overcoming Serie A title contenders Napoli 5-3 on aggregate last month to reach the last 16.

Xavi's side face Galatasaray next, with the first leg to take place at Camp Nou on Thursday, and are considered favourites to go all the way and lift the trophy in May.

However, De Jong does not believe there is any extra pressure on his side to live up to their billing as competition favourites, even if it is their last hope of silverware this term.

"We want to be in the Champions League but that's not the case at the moment," he said at a pre-match news conference on Wednesday. 

"Now we want to win the Europa League. But it wouldn't be a failure to miss out on the title, because there are good teams, though of course the goal is to win the competition.

"Normally we push for all the titles and if we reinforce ourselves well, I'm sure that next season we'll fight for everything."

Barca have lost just two of their last 35 home matches in the knockout rounds of major European competitions and have only been beaten in one of their previous eight meetings with Gala.

They enter the tie in great form thanks to a run of eight games without defeat in all competitions, winning six of those – including each of the last four.

"I think we've been doing very well lately, creating a lot of chances," De Jong said. "We want to improve and continue in this dynamic.

"I feel good. We are in a good moment. I feel comfortable and I want to continue and improve."

De Jong has featured 33 times in all competitions for Barca this season, a tally bettered only by Marc-Andre ter Stegen (34) and Sergio Busquets (36).

The Netherlands international has come in for criticism at times, but he has found some form with two goals and an assist in his last four appearances.

"I don't know if it's my best version, you can always improve," De Jong said when asked about his recent displays.

"When people criticise me it doesn't hurt, but many people aren't watching the games, and that's why they talk. People believe journalists who say things, and that's the problem."

Barcelona are still adjusting to life without Lionel Messi, so says Frenkie de Jong, who has no intention of leaving the Blaugrana any time soon.

De Jong joined Barca from Ajax in 2019, arriving with high expectations as the Catalan giants planned to push on following their LaLiga success under Ernesto Valverde.

Yet over the subsequent two-and-a-half years, the club have suffered a significant dip in fortunes, with a lone Copa del Rey title and Messi's exit among the highs and lows since.

De Jong has played under Valverde, Quique Setien and Ronald Koeman before working under current coach and Barca legend Xavi.

He has been linked with a move away from Barca over the last season, but he remains thrilled to be at the club he wanted to play for as a boy, even if the silverware has not flown as freely as it might have done.

"I'm very happy I'm at Barcelona: from a young age I've wanted to be here, so in that way it has been a dream come true," the Netherlands international told The Guardian.

"But, of course, I would have liked to win more trophies than we did in my first two years. I expected more in that sense, let's put it that way. But other than that, I'm very happy here and hopefully for many more years."

Learning to live without Messi, who ended his career-long association with the club to move to Paris Saint-Germain last year amid financial difficulties, has been tough, though.

"I never took it into serious consideration, so when it happened it was a shock," De Jong explained.

"It was a heavy blow for everyone. We still miss him."

One club great that has helped shape De Jong this term is Xavi though, after the ex-Blaugrana star succeeded Koeman. 

"We're both midfielders, roughly in the same position, so in that regard he can teach me a lot," De Jong said. "Every coach has his own details, of course."

Barcelona play Valencia this weekend in LaLiga, as they look to solidify their hold on fourth-place ahead of champions Atletico Madrid.

There may still be three months of the 2021-22 campaign to play, but Manchester United will already have one eye on next season.

Not only is there a question mark over who will be in charge, but United must also freshen up a squad that has once again underperformed this time around.

If reports are accurate, it may well be that two of United's long-term targets end up reuniting at Old Trafford.
 

TOP STORY – POCHETTINO WANTS KANE TO JOIN HIM AT UNITED

Mauricio Pochettino has long been considered the favourite to take over from Ralf Rangnick should the interim manager, as expected, step aside at the end of the season.

According to the Telegraph, Pochettino wants assurances that he will be financially backed if he leaves Paris Saint-Germain, with Tottenham striker Harry Kane reported to be on his radar.

Kane and Pochettino previously worked together for five and a half years at Tottenham and are said to still remain in contact.

However, Spurs resisted big-money interest from Manchester City for their star player last year and are not expected to budge too much on their valuation in the next window.


ROUND-UP

- Gareth Bale looks increasingly likely to leave Real Madrid when his contract expires later this year. According to one report, from Tuttomercatoweb, the Wales international has reached an agreement to return to Tottenham, where he spent last season on loan.

- Sport claims that Frenkie de Jong has no intention of leaving Barcelona in the next transfer window. The Ajax academy product is rumoured to be a target for Liverpool and Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

- Real Madrid have added Arsenal full-back Kieran Tierney to their list of transfer targets, Spanish outlet El Espanol reports. Los Blancos are seeking a replacement for Marcelo, who turns 34 in May and is soon to become a free agent.

- According to transfer expert Ekrem Konur, Brazilian side Flamengo remain in talks to sign Neto from Barcelona on a free contract. The once-capped Brazil international has played second-fiddle to Marc-Andre ter Stegen for the past three seasons.

- Inter midfielder Arturo Vidal is a man in demand ahead of becoming a free agent in July. Calciomercato suggests that Premier League sides Aston Villa and Tottenham, as well as Marseille and Galatasaray, are set to battle it out for his signature.

Barcelona head coach Xavi says Sunday's 1-0 win at Alaves shows that there is life in the Blaugrana yet.

Frenkie de Jong netted an 88th-minute winner to clinch the points for Xavi's side, who move up to fifth in LaLiga, one point behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona bossed possession (76-24 percent) and generated 10-6 shots with 4-2 on target, getting their just reward with the Dutchman's late goal.

"It cost us a lot, but they were three crucial points and the team needed and deserved them," Xavi told reporters. "The sun has risen again, this victory shows that there is life."

He added: "It means a lot of confidence, continuing to believe in what we do."

Barcelona will enjoy a break before their next league game against Spanish champions Atletico Madrid on Sunday 6 February.

“We are in the fight, one point away from the Champions League," Xavi said. "These days are going to come in handy. They will come in very handy."

The Barcelona boss was also complimentary towards teenager Pedri, who has only just returned to the fold following a thigh injury. Pedri made his first LaLiga start since August.

"He’s a marvellous little player, and at 19, to do everything well is spectacular," Xavi said.

"How he looks in possession, how he perceives the game, he is excellent and the model player. He can lead by character, quality, ambition, it’s great to have him back in the team."

Frenkie de Jong disagreed with Joan Laporta after the Barcelona president said the club could be proud of their performance in the Supercopa de Espana final defeat to Real Madrid. 

Barcelona twice came from behind to force extra time against Madrid in Riyadh last week, but Federico Valverde struck the decisive goal in the 98th minute to give Los Blancos a 3-2 success. 

Laporta went to the dressing room after the final whistle and told the players they could be proud of their performances, with the footage being published on the club's official social media channels.

De Jong took a dim view of Laporta's perspective after his 87th-minute goal against Deportivo Alaves on Sunday secured a 1-0 LaLiga success, ending a three-game winless streak. 

"We didn't play badly against Madrid, but it saddens me to say that we are proud," said De Jong. "When you lose, you always have to be disappointed." 

The victory saw Barca move above Real Sociedad and into fifth in LaLiga, with fourth-placed Atletico Madrid just one point ahead of them. 

"The victory was very important because we are in a difficult phase of the season," said De Jong. 

"We have to improve our play, although it was very difficult because the pitch was frozen. We have to be more precise with the ball, especially in the opposition's half. 

"The goal is to qualify for the Champions League and then we'll see what position we achieve." 

On his personal display, he added: "When you score, it doesn't mean you play well. I have to improve, but it's not a disaster either." 

Frenkie de Jong netted an 87th-minute winner as Barcelona finally found themselves on the right side of late drama in a 1-0 victory at Deportivo Alaves.

Barca entered the game on a three-match winless run in all competitions, having been held by Granada following a last-gasp equaliser before consecutive cup defeats after extra-time.

The stage was set for another frenzied finish after Luuk de Jong passed up two presentable opportunities for the Blaugrana, and it was his namesake who delivered this time.

Xavi's men leapfrogged Real Sociedad into fifth place in the LaLiga table, a point behind Atletico Madrid after their own late show a day earlier.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.