After what can only be described as an inauspicious start to his Camp Nou career, it didn’t take long for Luuk de Jong to become a laughing stock at Barcelona.
Unlike his namesake, Frenkie, Luuk wasn’t the archetypal Barca player and, as such, the masses had already made their minds up about him.
Heck, they even booed him for large parts of his early games.
Whilst it may be ostensibly true that in playing terms he probably wasn’t the right fit, that’s hardly his fault. Ditto Martin Braithwaite.
If blame needs to be apportioned for the buy in, that surely has to be levelled at the club and/or the manager.
In any event, once Barca started playing to the striker’s strengths, everyone could see how good he was.
Limited? Perhaps. But a player who never professed to be anything other than what he was, and what he was - and is - was a great target man who, in our hour of need, scored some superb headed goals.
He’ll not go down as a Barcelona great, but neither should he just be allowed to be ushered out of the door without so much as a thank you.
It is time to put some respect on Luuk de Jong’s name.
It also begs the question as to why this isn’t routinely done by the fan base in any event. Is it right that any player which pulls on the blaugrana should be subject to such contempt before he’s even managed to bed down a position?
Isnt that the total opposite of what ‘support’ is about?
Players should be subject to critique of course, particularly by those who spend their hard-earned to watch their heroes in action, but for heaven’s sake, let’s at least give players the chance to get a decent run in the team before such summary judgment is passed.
The fact that he wasn’t a fashionable name is arguably to blame for the initial contempt in which he was held, but he can leave with his head high, and his star shining brighter than it did just after he arrived.
A hard-working and honest pro who will always give 100 percent, he deserved better than culers gave him for the most part.
Though it didn’t work out for him at Barca, in the end he can be proud of what he did bring to the team when called upon. Changing the boos to cheers was a victory in itself.
Thank you Luuk. Go well.