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Carles Alena Frenkie de Jong Josep Bartomeu BarcelonaGetty/Goal

'They promised De Jong without telling me' - Alena unhappy with Barcelona after giving new signing his No.21 shirt

Barcelona midfielder Carles Alena has claimed that the club promised to give Frenkie de Jong his favoured No.21 shirt without first consulting him over the squad number change.

Alena took over the No.21 shirt last season after the departure of previous incumbent Andre Gomes, who has recently returned to Everton.

This year, the shirt will be worn by Barca’s new hope De Jong - something which has left the La Masia graduate Alena feeling a little put out.

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"Giving the No.21 to De Jong was something between him and me," he told reporters. "I would have liked a message from the board because they promised him the number without notifying me.

"That left a bad taste, it didn't feel good. I've always behaved well with the club."

Alena will now move to the No.19 shirt, which was worn sporadically last season by on-loan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Neither the 19 or 21 shirts carry a huge significance in the club's history, though Lionel Messi did don the 19 for two seasons between 2006 and 2008.

Frenkie de Jong Barcelona 2019-20Getty Images

Alena’s annoyance may stem from the barrier to the first team presented by De Jong’s much-heralded arrival.

The Catalan-born midfielder was on the fringes last season, making 17 appearances in La Liga and also being given game time in the Champions League and Copa del Rey.

He only played 90 minutes on five occasions, though one of these came at Wembley in Barca’s 1-1 draw with Spurs in the Champions League group stage.

Alena was speaking in Japan ahead of his side’s next pre-season friendly against a Vissel Kobe team featuring club legends Andres Iniesta and David Villa.

He will be looking to stake his claim for a greater role in the first-team set-up in his side’s remaining friendlies with Arsenal and Napoli, before the new Spanish season kicks off with a trip to Athletic Club on August 16.

Kobe, meanwhile, have also been linked with former Barca defender Thomas Vermaelen as the Belgium international looks for a new club.