'I'm not a golden boy!' - Man City & Barcelona targets De Jong & De Ligt play down hype

The Dutch side can qualify for the Champions League knock-out phases with a victory on Tuesday and two of their players are attracting interest

Ajax duo Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt have their feet firmly on the ground despite reaping high praise for their performances this season.

Centre-back de Ligt is being courted by Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester City and the 19-year-old is believed to be worth at least €50 million (£44m/$57m).

Meanwhile, de Jong's creativity in midfield, which has led to comparisons with Dutch legend Johan Cruyff, has also attracted interest from City and Barcelona. In fact, Goal reported on Wednesday that City are prepared to break their transfer record to secure his signature.

Speaking after Ajax's 3-0 win over NAC Breda, de Jong told De Telegraaf: "I had a good week with the Dutch team. We managed to qualify for the next round of the Nations League, so that's great.

"I know the stories will come [after good performances], but it [comparison with Cruyff] was quite extreme this time.

"I try to stay focussed on what I should be doing. It's nice to hear [these compliments], but I'm not even close to Johan Cruyff's level and I'll never reach it, so I make no illusions."

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Ajax are now second in the Eredivisie, five points back from PSV Eidhoven, and sit second only to Bayern Munchen in Champions League Group E. 

Next, they face the group's bottom side AEK Athens on Tuesday when a win would see them through the the knock-out phases. 

De Ligt's defending has been crucial to their campaign so far and he has been nominated for the Golden Boy award which is presented to Europe's best player under the age of 21. 

The Dutchman told AT5: "It would be great to win [the Golden Boy award], but it's not in my mind right now. We have to focus on Athens [for the Champions League match against AEK].

"I don't see myself as a golden boy, I'm a normal boy. Of course it would be great to win [the award], but I don't know if it's going to happen."

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