In an interview with L’Equipe, French National and Barcelona player Ousmane Dembélé spoke on a range of topics including his much-anticipated renewal and advice handed to him from Lionel Messi. The 24-year-old has suffered a tumultuous career so far in the Camp Nou. However, in his first season that wasn’t injury-stricken, Dembele managed to find some form of relief, in that he remained relatively injury-free. However, form and consistency still seemed difficult to come by.
Having finally kickstarted his Barça career — in his fourth season here, unfortunately — Dembele’s contract is set to run out next summer. With Joan Laporta and co aware that he is still relatively young, possessing room to grow, they are keen on extending his contract, strongly affirmative that his injury woes are behind him. However, the Frenchman himself has been rather confused whether to pen another deal with the Blaugranas.
On signing a renewal, he said, “I don’t know right now, we’ll see. We will meet with the management. I’m not in a hurry and neither are they. I’m totally focused on EURO 2020, then I’ll go on holiday.” Anything but direct, Dembele’s response indicates that he is not necessarily focused on renewing, with his mind yet to be made up.
Next, the former Dortmund player was questioned on his relationship with Messi. The Argentinian is Barça’s premier captain and is also famous for being a de facto custodian for youngsters in the club. Speaking on Leo, he said, “We get along very well, I’m next to him in the dressing room and he’s a good captain and man, Messi is an open player and talks a lot, from day one we’ve been doing well.”
“Messi tells me that I have to provoke the opponent, shoot and dribble.” Hopefully, Demebele can continue racking up lessons from the greatest to ever grace the game, as well as from his other more senior, experienced squad members. Unfortunately, in his four years here, the French winger has fallen short of the standards expected of him when he was signed.
With injuries hindering him for essentially half his entire Blaugrana career, Dembele has failed to learn the several concepts key to succeeding at Barça. His inability to understand relative positioning with his teammates, ball-circulation, and positioning to create superiorities means that he is some standard behind the rest of his teammates in playing The Barça Way.
Still only 24-years-old, the player, who has jokingly been nicknamed ‘Samuel E’eto’ by his teammates, can surely still continue to mature and learn the concepts so important to succed at Barça.