Barcelona get their boy as Ajax star Frenkie de Jong joins Nou Camp club

De Jong was one of the most sought after young players in world football. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2019
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Barcelona get their boy as Ajax star Frenkie de Jong joins Nou Camp club

  • Catalan club shell out €75 million for highly-rated Ajax midfielder.
  • De Jong to join Barca in the summer.

AMSTERDAM: Barcelona have won the race to sign highly-rated Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong, the Spanish club have announced.
The 21-year-old will join Barca this summer for €75 million ($85 million), with a further €11 million due to Ajax in additional payments.
De Jong, who is considered one of the most exciting young players in Europe, will begin a five-year contract with his new club.
“Barcelona and Ajax have reached an agreement for the transfer of midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who will be joining the Catalan club from July 1, 2019,” a Barcelona statement read.
“The cost of the transfer is €75 million, plus a further 11 million in variables. The player will be signing a contract for the next five seasons, through to 2023/24.”
De Jong had attracted interest from a host of European clubs, with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City reportedly among those keen.
After coming through the ranks at Willem II in the Netherlands, De Jong signed for Ajax in 2015. He has been a first-team regular for the past two seasons.
“He’s a great player, who certainly has a great future,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.
De Jong will also follow a prestigious line of Dutch players to represent Barcelona, which includes Johan Cruyff, Ronald Koeman, Patrick Kluivert and Frank de Boer.
He will be given an early taste of Spanish football when Ajax face Real Madrid next month in the last 16 of the Champions League.


Embiid returns to help 76ers beat Nets for 3-1 lead

Updated 21 April 2019
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Embiid returns to help 76ers beat Nets for 3-1 lead

  • The 76ers seized a 3-1 lead in the first-round series against the Nets

NEW YORK: Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid returned from injury to score a game-high 31 points and grab 16 rebounds, powering the 76ers to a 112-108 NBA playoff victory at Brooklyn on Saturday.
Despite a third-quarter incident that saw two players ejected, the 76ers seized a 3-1 lead in the first-round series against the Nets and could advance in the Eastern Conference best-of-seven matchup with a home victory Tuesday.
In the other Eastern Conference game, Khris Middleton finished with 20 points and nine rebounds as the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks put the Detroit Pistons on the brink of elimination with a 119-103 win. The victory give the Bucks a 3-0 lead and they can wrap up the series with a win on the road in the Motor City on Monday.
Philadelphia, down by 10 points early in the third quarter, battled back most of the second half before taking the lead on a run of eight points by Embiid, who missed game three with a sore left knee.
A slam dunk and layup by Embiid gave the 76ers their first late lead at 102-101 but, after an exchange of layups and three-pointers as well as turnovers, fell behind 108-107 on a basket by Brooklyn’s Joe Harris with 25 seconds remaining.
On the next 76er possession, Embiid flipped the last of his seven assists to Mike Scott, whose corner three-pointer put Philadelphia ahead to stay 110-108 with 19 seconds remaining.
Australian Ben Simmons — who added 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the 76ers — stole the ball from Brooklyn’s Jarett Allen and Tobias Harris sank two free throws for the last of his 24 points to clinch the triumph.
Caris LeVert led the Nets with 25 points while Brooklyn had 21 points each from Allen and D’Angelo Russell.
Cameroon star center Embiid was issued a flagrant foul in touching off an altercation 4:18 into the third quarter that saw Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler Brooklyn’s Jared Dudley ejected. Embiid, who had elbowed Allen in the face in game two, was whistled for a hard foul on Allen that prompted Dudley to rush at Embiid, taking down the Sixers big man. Butler swung his left arm at Dudley, who wound up in the front row seats with Simmons at one stage, to earn his ejection.
In Detroit, Brook Lopez tallied 19 points and had seven rebounds and five blocked shots and Eric Bledsoe scored 19 points for the Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered 14 points and 10 rebounds for his third straight double-double in the series and Nikola Mirotic chipped in 12 points.
Detroit’s hobbled star Blake Griffin had 27 points in 31 minutes after he missed the first two games of the series with a sore knee.
Griffin was cleared with his leg heavily wrapped but it didn’t change the outcome.
The Pistons have now lost 13 straight playoff games dating back to 2008. In the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets — led by game highs of 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists from Serbian playmaker Nikola Jokic — pulled level with San Antonio at 2-2 in their opening series with a 117-103 road triumph over the Spurs.