‘I’m not telling him to leave’ – Xavi says

Frenkie De Jong
Photo: Getty images

Barcelona defeated Real Madrid in a pre-season friendly game at the Allegiant Stadium in the United States.

One big talking point from the game was Xavi’s decision to play midfielder Frenkie de Jong as a centre-back.

Reports have it that Barcelona are keen on cashing out on the Netherlands international, but De Jong has refused to leave the club.

De Jong has now played in an unfamiliar centre-back role in his second-straight friendly match, and the Dutchman formed a pairing with Gerard Pique against Real Madrid.

Xavi has however insisted that he’s not forcing De Jong out by playing him in defence.

“Putting him [Frenkie de Jong] as a central defender is not a message [for him to leave]. We want the central defenders to divide their responsibilities. Frenkie is important to us,” Xavi told the media after the game.

Manchester United new boss Erik ten Hag has made the Dutchman a priority signing, and a £63 million deal has reportedly been agreed between the clubs too.

However, De Jong has disagreed on an exit from the club.