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Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong Says 'Playing Against Real Madrid Is Always Special'

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2019

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - DECEMBER 14: Frenkie de Jong of FC Barcelona during the La Liga Santander  match between Real Sociedad v FC Barcelona at the Estadio Anoeta on December 14, 2019 in San Sebastian Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has said he is "really excited" for his first El Clasico ahead of Wednesday's clash against Real Madrid.

De Jong, 22, played a key role for Ajax last season as they dismantled Real in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

The Dutch side subsequently reached the semi-finals of Europe's top-tier competition, and they won a league and cup double in the Netherlands in one of their best campaigns of the 21st century.

In the summer, though, Ajax lost a number of their key players, including De Jong, who signed for Barca for £65 million.

His first appearance in a Clasico had been delayed after October's postponement:

B/R Football @brfootball

OFFICIAL: Next week's Barcelona vs. Real Madrid Clasico has been postponed—the clubs have until 21 October to agree a new date https://t.co/hGpbMLJYGl

But De Jong said ahead of the Camp Nou clash he is raring to go, per Barcelona's official website (h/t Sport):

"Last year's match with Ajax was very special, but now it's another game and I'm on another team, so it will be different. I'm really excited, as it will be my first Clasico, and I hope we win. I've followed all the others on television, and the one I enjoyed the most was the 5-0 at the Camp Nou [in 2010].

"It's the same on the day—playing against Real Madrid is always special. Also, my family will come to see me, and they'll surely experience a spectacular atmosphere."

Barca and Real met on four occasions last season, with the Catalan outfit winning three and the other ending in a 1-1 draw.

The two Spanish giants have been largely inseparable in terms of form recently, though, remaining tied on points at the head of the table since early last month:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

So where's your team on the #LaLigaSantander table after Matchday 17? 🏆👀 https://t.co/pjtdsnFYfh

Barca dropped their first points in five matches in La Liga on Saturday when they drew 2-2 with Real Sociedad, presenting an opportunity for Real to open up a gap at the top of the table.

But they needed a stoppage-time equaliser form Karim Benzema on Sunday to draw 1-1 at Valencia:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

Epic late drama at Mestalla as it ends all square between @valenciacf_en and @realmadriden! ✨🤝 💥 @Carlos10Soler 💥 @Benzema #ValenciaRealMadrid 1-1 https://t.co/sM264cdODq

If either side can get a win in Wednesday's Clasico, they will take a key advantage in the title race with just a game remaining before the winter break.