Luuk de Jong deserves more respect from just about everyone at Barcelona.
De Jong has not exactly won over supporters since joining on a season-long loan from Sevilla.
It was clear from the outset that de Jong wasn’t ‘Barcelona quality’, that’s not news when we are talking about a 31-year-old striker who has played the role of the ‘big man striker’ for much of his career.
Outside of the Netherlands, where he was indeed a fine goalscorer, de Jong has made a career of making a nuisance of himself, while causing an aerial threat, getting on the end of crosses, creating knockdowns and the likes.
You don’t have to be an expert on all things Camp Nou to know Barcelona don’t generally sign that kind of player, and he is certainly not a traditional Xavi player.
But amid a financial crisis and a squad that has hardly shown itself to be of ‘Barcelona quality’, de Jong was signed to do exactly what he has done in the last two games.
When tried methods and technical build-up fails, de Jong is there to get on the end of crosses and score the old fashion way.
However good a team you are, however technical, there is always going to come a time when lumping the ball into the box and hoping for the best is your best option, perhaps even your only option.
Often that comes in the dying minutes of a game, but sometimes, when an opposing team defends you too well, it can come much earlier.
De Jong is the man for when that alternative plan needs rolling out, and two goals in as many games – and three so far this season – tells you he is not exactly bad at his job.
An ugly footballer? Not deserving of the Barca shirt? The Dutchman gets some serious stick for not being of the technical quality of many of his teammates.
But those dishing out that criticism might be best served climbing down from their high horse some time in the near future.
Barca are not at the stage in their club’s lifespan where they can look down on players like de Jong.
They are at the stage where they need players like de Jong more than ever.