The agent of Frenkie de Jong poured cold water on a recent story claiming that the Barcelona midfielder faked an illness earlier this week. The Netherlands international was absent from Barcelona’s trip to Belgium on Wednesday to face Royal Antwerp. The Spanish side eventually suffered a shock defeat in the game thanks to a late goal by George Ilenikhena. Despite the loss, Barca had already locked up the top spot in Group H of the Champions League.

Because the Spanish giants had booked a place in the knockout rounds, head coach Xavi had planned to rest some of his stars. This included Robert Lewandowski, Ilkay Gündogan and Ronald Araujo. However, reports then surfaced that Barca president Joan Laporta essentially made Xavi take the key players to Belgium.

Spanish reporter says club’s sporting director did not believe the player

Màrius Carol, a reporter for RAC1, then claimed on Thursday that Barca sporting director Deco believed that De Jong faked his illness. The reporter made the claims while on Spanish television. “I’m told by a person very close to me that when they were taking the players to Antwerp – at the moment of catching the plane – Deco called De Jong,” began Carol.

“And he scolded him. De Jong tells him: ‘I’m sick.’ Deco responded and said: ‘What do you mean you’re sick? Has the doctor already certified that you are sick?'”

Carol then also added that Deco did not believe the star midfielder. Nevertheless, De Jong did not make the trip with his teammates for the final Champions League group stage match.

Agent calls De Jong faking illness at Barcelona ‘nonsense’

The player’s agent, Ali Dursun, has since responded to the allegations. Dursun emphatically denied the lie during an interview with Dutch news outlet De Telegraaf on Friday. “Total fake news,” proclaimed Dursun. “It is the biggest nonsense that has been released around Frenkie in a long time.”

“The player is just sick. He has symptoms of fever and has been unable to travel and play. This boy is a professional through and through. Just a model professional.”

“Just don’t touch Frenkie’s reputation, because he always delivers,” continued the agent. “There was no shouting over the phone as claimed, no question marks. Things are being created now in a false way. The relationship with Deco is simply good and stable.”

De Jong’s relationship with Barca officials was already shaky before the allegations. The Catalan club allegedly attempted to sell the Dutch midfielder to Manchester United in the summer of 2022. The two clubs agreed a fee of around $70 million for a permanent transfer.

Nevertheless, the move never materialized as the Red Devils could not settle on personal terms with De Jong. In the end, United eventually turned their attention to signing Casemiro and Christian Eriksen instead. De Jong was furious with Barca execs for trying to sell him to free up extra cash. Although the two sides mended the fractured relationship, the latest story may end up reopening old wounds.

Barca has now lost back-to-back matches and sits in an unfamiliar place in the LaLiga table. The Spanish side will attempt to right the ship against Valencia on Saturday, Dec. 16th. De Jong is expected to be back in the squad for the matchup.