TO ANALYSE – Placardisé yesterday, the former Rennais is back in favor at Barça. For the best.
In football, everything goes very quickly… Refusing to link his future to FC Barcelona a few months before the end of his contract, Ousmane Dembélé was sent to the cellar by the staff and the Catalan management. Since then, the 24-year-old French international has still not extended, but Xavi has pulled him out of the closet. “Circumstances made it necessary to find a solution with him. He is part of the club and the workforce. We got together and decided he was part of the team. We can’t afford to shoot ourselves in the foot. It’s a club decision and we’ll use it when we think it’s necessary. He is a team player like the others“, declared Xavi, on February 5, after the end of a turbulent winter transfer window in the direction of arrivals, Ferran Torres, Adama Traoré and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having landed at Barça, without forgetting veteran Dani Alves, valuable in his genre.
Xavi can also count on Dembélé, more dashing than ever and who has found his place alongside Aubam’, his former playing partner in Dortmund. The automatics did not take long to return. And the ex-Rennes again knew how to make himself indispensable, often in the role of the ferryman, the detonator, the particle accelerator. We saw it again on Thursday, in Istanbul, during qualification for the quarter-finals of the Europa League against Galatasaray (2-1 victory). His entry in place of Traoré allowed FC Barcelona, third in the La Liga standings before facing Real in Madrid this Sunday (9 p.m., on beIN SPORTS), during day 29, to change gear and reverse the game. Decisive, brilliant.
SEE ALSO – The best of Ousmane Dembele at FC Barcelona
Five “D passes” in four matches
Not enough to convince Didier Deschamps to call on him for the next gathering of the France team. If he continues on this path, the one that has seen him deliver five assists in his last four La Liga matches, with a bonus goal, it won’t be long… What is certain is that the native of Vernon is as electrifying as ever, fascinating to watch. If he adds the statistics and avoids squatting in the infirmary, he could finally meet the gigantic expectations born of a talent that is no less so. Big if?
«He’s the kind of personality that doesn’t walk the earth, he flies over, the kind of person that’s more of an eagle than a duck.“, notes the consultant beIN SPORTS Omar Da Fonseca, not failing to note a “kind of recklessness, an artistic side that makes him almost allergic to others, to what one can say about them. He is such a gifted player, agile, easy to handle the ball… He has been criticized precisely because this ease in dribbling, running, making hooks, hitting gives the impression that he is going to seek the stick at the end of his Street. He is therefore a little tickled because we can have the feeling that he does not have the conviction, we would like him to tear himself away. He tries all the time, whether he succeeds or not, whether he is far from the surface or not. Unlike Xavi when he was playing for example, his reading is not always perfect. But we cannot deny the initiative, perseverance, untouchable side. He expresses no other sensitivity than that of playing his football.A feast for the eyes, hell for the opponents.
“He is a player who cannot leave anyone indifferent. If you like football a bit, treat the ball well… You can even see the ball’s cheeks relaxed with him (laughs). »
Omar Da Fonseca on Ousmane Dembele
And the former PSG, Monaco, Tours or Toulouse striker continued: “He manages to do great deeds. But can he make great matches over time? When you see him play, he gives the impression of flying. Except that afterwards, there has to be this regularity, this consistency and this decisive side too. This is the equation that must be found between quality and performance. The qualities, the possibilities, he has them. Performances, not always… It’s at least partly due to injuries“, notes Omar Da Fonseca, stressing that Ousmane Dembélé is nonetheless “a player who cannot leave indifferent. If you like football a bit, let the ball be treated well… You can even see the ball’s cheeks relaxed with it».
The ball is less fun when Dembélé hits it, he who can send some serious cannon shots even if he “looks frail, looks like he weighs 40 kilos all wet, he has no muscles. His calves, they look like toothpicks… He slips, he looks like a gazelle“, swears Da Fonseca, who will be commenting on this expected Clasico between two eternal rivals who arrive on a good dynamic and in confidence at this always special meeting and during which the 2018 world champion will be expected, him for whom the FC Barcelona broke its piggy bank in 2017 (€145m), after the departure of Neymar Jr from Paris-SG.
Barcelona, PSG or England?
It remains to be seen whether the future of the twirling Norman winger lies in Barcelona, Paris or England. “He knows our offer and knows that we always wanted him to stay. We hope he will think about it again at the end of the season», recently indicated President Laporta, which is no longer hermetic to discussion. “In football, you can never rule anything out. Look: he couldn’t play, and now he plays, and he plays well. But his contract extension does not depend on me, it is a question for the club and the player“Said Xavi after Bilbao (4-0).
A match in which Dembélé had transformed the whistles wiped out when he entered the game into bursts of applause, with two assists and a goal to his credit that evening against Athletic. “He is a great professional. Let’s encourage him“, had claimed Xavi. Today, Camp Nou no longer needs to be pushed for that. A great match signed Ousmane Dembélé at the Bernabeu would consolidate his reconquest operation. As for a possible extension and its future, we will nevertheless have to wait a little longer…