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Bernd BaruttaHead of Beach Soccer at the DFBBeach soccer was at its captivating best in Warnemünde
12 Oct 2019
NIGEL DE JONG
"Every football player thinks they can play on sand but it’s very tough"
Nigel de Jong has enjoyed a long and decorated career in the world of professional football.
Beginning his career in his hometown club Ajax, where he won the Eredivisie, the Dutch defensive midfielder has since played for such clubs as AC Milan, LA Galaxy and Galatasaray, as well as arguably his biggest achievement, winning the Premier League with Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City side in the 2011/12 season.
He also made it all the way to the FIFA World Cup final in 2010 with the Dutch national team. His current team is local Doha side Al-Shahania, and this meant that the Qatar resident couldn’t resist coming down to Katara Beach to check out the World Beach Games 2019 (11-16 October) for himself.
After training with the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup champions, Brazil, we had the chance to talk to him about the impression the world’s best beach soccer side made on him.
“They have been the best beach soccer team in the world for many years now and it was great to train with them. I came yesterday to have a little question round with them and then came back today. It’s been great fun. Hard though, and super competitive. Every football player always thinks they can play on sand but it’s really tough, man.”
“They know how to compete at the highest level. I think every player, on grass, on the sand or on the street, they all want to win, you know? It’s great how they are so competitive, the way they give everything in training and that’s how they have to work, as champions.”
“We play beach soccer in Holland, as well as foot-volley, so I know how to play a bit but it’s still so difficult. Seeing where and when the ball will bounce and when to lift the ball from the sand. The main difference [between beach and 11-aside football] is the uneven surface. You have to make sure the ball is always bouncing right.”
“You have to have great quads man! I mean, the legs have to be really strong! After playing five minutes, my legs were burning.”
To round our chat off, we couldn’t resist asking about the possibility of seeing De Jong in the Dutch national beach soccer team…
“Maybe. Maybe. Never say never. But for now, I’m here, I’m gonna support this tournament and the teams out here and hopefully we’ll have a great couple of days in Qatar.”
November 05, 2019
November 06, 2019
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November 09, 2019
|MEX||2 - 3||ITA|
|JPN||7 - 2||EGY|
|ESP||4 - 2||RUS|
|IRN||1 - 1 (4 - 3) (PSO)||UAE|
|RUS||1 - 2 (AET)||UAE|
|ESP||3 - 6||IRN|