'Free soul De Jong is a bit like Zidane' - Gullit hails Ajax star's 'unbelievable' development

Comments()
Getty Images
The 21-year-old will head to Barcelona at the end of the season but the former Netherlands star says he is more like the Real Madrid boss

Ruud Gullit says Frenkie de Jong has developed at an "unbelievable" rate in the last two years and has compared the Ajax midfielder to Real Madrid great Zinedine Zidane.

The 21-year-old's exploits for Ajax and Netherlands have seen him hailed as one of the most promising young players in Europe.

Barcelona have already agreed to pay the Dutch side an initial €75 million (£65m/$85m) to sign the midfielder this summer, but Netherlands great Gullit says he plays more like their arch rivals' former star and coach, World Cup and Champions League winner Zidane.

"Frenkie De Jong is a free soul. He takes everything to the limit," Gullit told  Goal  at the beIN Sports Super's of Football Ceremony. "He challenges you as an opponent.

"He makes it easy also for the rest of the team to take positions because he doesn’t lose the ball very much and also wants the ball. So therefore he’s a player like, if you want to compare, a little bit Zidane. Wants the ball as well, glides past players and things like that.

"I like the way he plays, he’s very young also. In only two years with Ajax, he has developed himself in unbelievable fashion. Him playing at Barcelona will be nice."

Another Ajax star who has caught attention during their journey to the Champions League semi-finals this season is Donny van de Beek, who scored in the first leg of the semi-final against Tottenham

Having worked closely with him, Gullit has been impressed by the 22-year-old and says he reminds him of Chelsea legend Frank Lampard.

Article continues below

"I worked with him a year ago when I was at the national team with Dick Advocaat," he added. "He was very young, he had to be patient. What I like about him is what is in this head. He’s very mature already for a young kid. He knows what he wants and he works hard.

"He’s a little bit of a type of midfielder that scores a lot of goals. A little bit like Lampard was for Chelsea. Scoring goals all the time, and he comes always in the right moment.

"He has the technique for it and also calmness when he’s in front of goal. So I’d compare him more with Lampard, scoring goals like he does."

Close