Nigel De Jong: FA Cup clash against Manchester United is more important than World Cup final

Manchester City midfielder believes that other clubs are jealous of his team's spending ability ahead of massive Wembley semi-final fixture

Nigel De Jong has rated the clash between Manchester City and Manchester United as being as big as the World Cup and insists everyone is jealous of his team.

City go into Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley looking to take a big step towards the grand prize of winning their first trophy in 35 years, but De Jong believes United are favourites.

The Dutch enforcer also believes that his team are unparalleled when it comes to spending on transfers and insists the other clubs are simply jealous of that faculty.

"The semi-final now is more important for me and the team than a World Cup final. United have that little edge on us because they have beaten us three times late on. Hopefully it won’t be a fourth time," said De Jong according to the Daily Mail.

"City have got the label now that we’re the biggest spending club in the world and all the negativity that surrounds it.

"Of course people are jealous. How many clubs in the Premier League would like a spending limit like City?

"Everybody’s  trying to put us on the ground and that’s normal. People are afraid of something new, and something new is coming in the football world."

De Jong made a fierce high challenge on Xabi Alonso in the World Cup final last summer, and thinks aggression is necessary in football.

"The thing is I’m still the same player," he said. "I still give 100 per cent in every game. I always try my best for my club or country.

"But it’s not like I only give challenges and then cry about it when I get a challenge back. I’m not like that. You have to pick yourself up and dust yourself down.

"If you make a good challenge, shake hands and that’s it. No hard feelings. As long as there’s no intention to harm, there’s not a problem.

"That’s my perception of  English football and that’s why I came here. I watched how the culture was here and I loved it as a small kid when Roy Keane went in to a hard tackle.

"When Keane and Paul Scholes were there, every opponent knew there was no chance with them in United’s midfield.

"It was the same thing with Edgar Davids when he played for Juventus. I was lucky to work with Davids on the Dutch team so I saw close up how he put his body on the line to be the main guy on the pitch. For me to see that, he was a big idol."

Although Roy Keane no longer forms part of United’s midfield, De Jong will have Scholes to handle, who he believes is just as tough.

He said: "Scholes can take a punch and he can give one as well. I’ve seen some good and bad challenges from him, but I’ll give him that.

"I’ve got no fear of anybody, to be honest, but I respect him - he’s clever. He can read a game so well."

De Jong has also been given nine yellow cards this season and made a crunching tackle on Newcastle United’s Hatem Ben Arfa, which not only broke his leg, but lead to the Dutch international being suspended from the Holland team and stigmatisation in his home country.

"In Holland it was much worse than in England," he revealed. "There was a witch hunt and my family were suffering.

"The only thing you can do is let your feet speak on the pitch. If you see how people are talking now this last couple of months it’s been a lot more positive."

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