Frenkie de Jong talks about his conversations with Lionel Messi
With the result, the Catalan giants have jumped to the top of the league standings ahead of Real Madrid, who succumbed to a shock defeat to mid-table Levante. Speaking after the game, De Jong was asked about his relationship with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner and he happened to confirm that they have the occasional chat with the Argentine emphasising what he wants from his players.
"Of course I sometimes talk to him. But it is not that I sit down with him for half an hour and talk about football very substantively. I don't do that with other players and I didn't do that at Ajax either. During a conversation like this, he mainly indicates what he wants. It is not that I am the person who will indicate to him how I want him to play!" he told.
Barcelona have not had the perfect season by their standards in La Liga and that contributed to the dismissal of Ernesto Valverde at the beginning of the year. Under new boss Quique Setien, they have experienced a couple of surprise defeats with the 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey quarter-final being one of the major disappointments.
Despite this, they have recently found form with three league wins on the bounce and that is certainly a positive, considering the club are expected to be without Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele for the season due to injuries. Barcelona are scheduled to face Napoli on the road during the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 clash on Tuesday night.