Nigel de Jong is a defensive midfielder for the Netherlands who currently plays his professional football at Manchester City FC in England's Barclays Premier League. Nicknamed "The Terrier," de Jong began his career with Ajax of Amsterdam before playing in Germany's Bundesliga with Hamburg. Included in the Netherlands' preliminary squad for the 2006 World Cup, de Jong missed out on Germany 2006 due to injury but returned to his national team with a strong performance at the 2008 European Championships. His last name is pronounced "deh-yong."
Nigel de Jong, born on November 30, 1984 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, is the son of former Dutch international Jerry de Jong. He joined the youth program at AFC Ajax at the age of nine, and worked his way through the Amsterdam club's ranks before making his debut for the Ajax first team in October 2002.
Nigel de Jong made 14 starts for AFC Ajax in the Eredivisie's 2002-03 season, as the Amsterdam club lost out on the title by finishing one point behind champions PSV Eindhoven.
In 2003-04, de Jong established himself in the Ajax starting lineup and helped the club overtake rivals PSV to win the league, recording his first two Eredivisie goals during the campaign. The physical midfielder also saw Champions League action, although Ajax would finish bottom of its group in the competition's opening stage.
The Amsterdam club also failed to make the Champions League knockout rounds the next season, after which de Jong was presented with the Ajax's Rinus Michels trophy as the 2004-05 Player of the season. The 5-foot, 9-inch de Jong would then spend only half of the 2005-06 season in Amsterdam, transferring to SV Hamburg in January 2006.
De Jong slotted into Hamburg's lineup for the second half of the German Bundesliga season, and scored a memorable game-winning goal in an upset over German giants Bayern Munich not long after joining the club. He also scored a crucial away goal in Hamburg's qualifying-round encounter with Osasuna, to send Hamburg into the group stages of the 2006-07 Champions League.
De Jong would spend three years with Hamburg, contributing four goals in all competitions during his time with the German club, who sold him to Manchester City for a reported 16 million euros in the January 2009 transfer window. The Dutch international has played a holding midfield role since joining Manchester City, seeing action in the Premier League along with FA and Carling Cup matches.
International/World Cup Experience
Nigel de Jong made his international debut for the Netherlands in a March 2004 friendly match with France. The midfielder was overlooked for inclusion in his country's team at the 2004 European Championships, but did see regular action during the Netherlands' qualifying campaign for the 2006 World Cup.
Included in the preliminary 35-man squad for his national team prior to the 2006 World Cup, de Jong suffered a knee injury that kept him off the final, 23-man Netherlands roster for Germany 2006.
The physical midfielder returned to feature within the Dutch lineup during qualifying play for the 2008 European Championships. And at the 2008 Euros in Austria/Switzerland, de Jong started two group matches for the Netherlands, his strong play in the center of the pitch instrumental in impressive wins over Italy and France.
De Jong scored one goal for his national team during qualifying play for the 2010 World Cup, recording the Netherlands' first in a 2-1 victory over Iceland in June 2009. The Dutch side won all eight of its matches in Europe's Group Nine to easily qualify for South Africa 2010.
While playing at Hamburg, Nigel de Jong established a successful car dealership with an Iranian business partner. De Jong Motors now operates out of showrooms in Germany and Abu Dhabi and customizes luxury cars for a number of high-profile clients.
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