Sergiño Dest (Sorta) Promises Us The 2026 World Cup
Get the best email in soccer.
The rise of Sergiño Dest has been meteoric. After all, it’s only been 459 days since he made his league debut with Ajax and 380 since he committed his international future to the USMNT.
But this is a 20-year-old who forced his way into the starting 11 of a title-winning Ajax side before convincing Barcelona to part with $25 million. And early returns in Catalonia have been good — Dest was arguably Barça’s best player in El Clásico.
He’s become a high profile footballer stateside but that was always the goal. In a recent interview with ESPN, Dest said as much when asked about the reception he got after signing for Barcelona.
“When I signed for Barça, I was not looking to see if I could be the first American to play for Barcelona, no,” Dest said. “I took the decision for me. I thought this was good for my development, I have the chance to play some minutes.
“But when I had to choose between the Netherlands and the U.S. I had that in the back of my mind: OK, two options, but what are the advantages in Holland and advantages in the U.S.? In the U.S., (there is) more for me, and I played my whole youth in the U.S., so it was also a little bit of loyalty. I made a good choice, and hopefully I can get big in the U.S.”
His elevated profile and commitment to the American flag, however, opens him up to European media’s greatest obsession: painting every U.S. citizen as Florida Man.
The 22-question interview on ESPN ranges from fluff piece (“How good is Messi in training?”) to downright bizarre. This question concerning Christian Pulisic makes you want to go six feet underground.
But the one answer that’s been picked up by European media is Dest’s entirely reasonable response to a loaded question. The question: “Is 2022 too soon to win it?”
The answer: “I mean the ball is round, so we always have chances, but I think we will have more chances in 2026 maybe. We have a lot of young players in the team — I think we should go and experience (the 2022 World Cup). I just hope that we reach far, but that's something we cannot tell yet.”
There’s nothing grandiose there. It’s a competitive mindset, the type that’s entirely necessary to be an international footballer. But let’s go to the headlines. Here’s Barcelona-based daily SPORT.
Here’s the Madrid-based MARCA.
And here’s a Twitter account (@FutbolBible) with 272K followers that absolutely butchers the quote to get more retweets. You’ll get banned from the platform immediately for posting a five-second video of the Premier League but telling an outright lie is encouraged.
Barcelona's right-back Sergino Dest who represents the USA as his national team: "I would say we're one of the favourites to win the World Cup in 2026. USA are going to shock so many people."What are your thoughts? pic.twitter.com/QdtXt3yGmO
— FutbolBible (@FutbolBible) November 11, 2020
But it all seriousness we can and will win the 2026 World Cup. Spain is just salty about a certain June 24 in history. *vuvuzela call*