Dembele Returns For Barca After Contract Stand-Off

In this file photo Barcelona’s French forward Ousmane Dembele runs on the pitch during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Elche CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona. PHOTO: PAU BARRENA / AFP


France international Ousmane Dembele has been named on the Barcelona squad for Sunday’s crunch Spanish league match against Atletico Madrid despite his ongoing contract standoff with the Liga side.

Xavi Hernandez has opted to stick with the talented 24-year-old despite reinforcements — Adama Traoré, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Ferran Torres — signed in the winter transfer window as Barcelona face a fight to finish in La Liga’s top four this season.

Xavi had warned Dembele on January 19 that he had to “extend” his contract or “leave” the club.

But the Barcelona coach conceded that he had no choice but to recall the French player who warned he would not “give in to blackmail” after being left out of last month’s Copa del Rey tie against Athletic Bilbao, with the Catalans crashing out to an extra-time defeat.

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“Circumstances meant that we had to find a solution with Ousmane,” Xavi told Saturday’s pre-match press conference.

“He is part of the club and the squad. We met and we decided that he is part of the team. We can’t afford to shoot ourselves in the foot. It’s the club’s decision and we’ll use him when we think it’s necessary. He’s a player in the team like any other.”

“A month ago, we decided one thing, but circumstances have changed,” added Xavi.

“We did everything possible to find a solution. I understand the position of the club, the player, and the supporters, who can be a little disgusted.

“But we have to be selfish. He is a player who can help us achieve our goals. We are all in this together. We now think that the best for the team is that he is part of the team normally.”

The winger’s contract expires in the summer when he will be able to leave Barcelona for free.


Atletico Striker Dembele Tests Positive For COVID-19

Moussa Dembele PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images


Atletico Madrid’s new signing Moussa Dembele has tested positive for Covid-19, the club announced on Thursday.

The squad underwent testing on Wednesday, from which “Moussa Dembele had a positive result for Covid-19 in the PCR test,” Atletico said in a statement.

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“The striker remains isolated at his home, strictly complying with the recommendations of the health authorities and La Liga protocol,” the club added.

Dembele, 24, joined Atletico on loan in January from Lyon until the end of the season but the French striker is yet to make an appearance for the La Liga leaders.


Dembele Pulls Out Of Barca Training

Ousmane Dembele of Barcelona during the warm-up before the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Levante UD at Camp Nou on April 27, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. AFP


Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele pulled out of training on Monday amid fears the Frenchman has suffered a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury.

“During this morning’s training session, Ousmane Dembele felt some discomfort in his right leg as a consequence of muscle fatigue,” Barcelona said in a statement. “He will continue with his rehabilitation.”

Dembele has not played for Barca since November 27 but had been expected to return this month.

The 22-year-old has endured a spate of injuries since moving to Camp Nou from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 and has only made nine appearances this term.



Messi, Dembele Back For Barca Ahead Of Inter Tie

Ousmane Dembele of Barcelona during the warm-up before the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Levante UD at Camp Nou on April 27, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.  Jose Breton / NurPhoto


Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele were back in partial training Monday ahead of this week’s Champions League clash against Inter Milan.

Both were out of action Saturday with thigh injuries for the club’s La Liga victory against Getafe but were able to participate in some of Monday’s session.

“Messi and Ousmane Dembele joined the group for a portion of the session,” Barcelona said in a statement.

If they are passed fit it will be good news for coach Ernesto Valverde ahead of an important week for the club, which includes a La Liga home match against Sevilla on Sunday as well as Wednesday’s Champions League game.


Bayern Consider Bid For Ousmane Dembele – Report

Ousmane Dembele of Barcelona during the warm-up before the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Levante UD at Camp Nou on April 27, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. Jose Breton/AFP


Bayern Munich will consider a move for Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele if they fail to sign Leroy Sane from Manchester City, Bild newspaper reported on Wednesday.

With veteran wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery leaving the club, Bayern had targeted Germany international Sane as they look to bolster their attack ahead of next season.

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“If the Sane transfer fails, Bayern also have Ousmane Dembele on their list,” wrote Bild.

France international Dembele, 22, was linked to Bayern before joining Borussia Dortmund from Rennes for 15 million euros ($17m) in 2016.

A year later, he became the most expensive outgoing or incoming transfer in Bundesliga history when Dortmund sold him to Barcelona for 125 million euros.

With his current contract set to expire in 2022, questions remain over whether Bayern could afford to sign the French international.

Bayern broke their own transfer record with the 80-million-euro signing of French defender Lucas Hernandez earlier this year, as they look to rejuvenate their squad in what club president Uli Hoeness has called “the biggest investment programme in our history”.

Yet their recruitment drive has stalled in recent weeks, with Hoeness openly admitting that first-choice target Sane may prove to be too expensive.

The Bayern president also insisted last month that the club would not break the 100-million-euro mark for a single player this year.


Court Fines Dembele $11,200 For Messing Up Rented Room

Barcelona’s forward from France Ousmane Dembele (C) walks with the team’s doctor during the Spanish league football match Getafe CF vs FC Barcelona at the Col. Alfonso Perez stadium in Getafe on September 16, 2017. PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP


A German court fined Barcelona striker Ousmane Dembele 10,000 euros ($11,200) on Monday for vacating the house he rented when at Borussia Dortmund littered with rubbish.

“The house was a dustbin,” Dembele’s landlord Gerd Weissenberg told German newspaper Bild.

Rubbish “was in every room”, he added.

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French World Cup winner Dembele, 21, joined Dortmund from Rennes in 2016, leaving for Barcelona a year later on a 105 million-euro ($124 million) transfer.

The fine, which includes rent arrears, was less than half the 21,000 euros originally sought by house owner Weissenberg.

“Of course Mr Dembele earns lots of money but he also has the right to be treated correctly,” the player’s lawyer Horst Kletke noted.

“We’ve made big strides today (with the reduced fine verdict).”

The court ruling came on the day Dembele was named in Barcelona’s squad for Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg with Manchester United.


Barca’s Dembele To Miss Atletico Clash Over Injury

Barcelona’s French forward Ousmane Dembele (C) celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second leg football match between FC Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 13, 2019. PAU BARRENA / AFP


Ousmane Dembele could miss Barcelona’s crunch La Liga game against Atletico Madrid after Barcelona confirmed on Thursday he will be out for up to a month with a hamstring injury.

Dembele is likely to miss upcoming league matches against Real Betis, Espanyol, and Villarreal while he has just under four weeks to recover in time for the meeting with Atletico on April 6.

The game at the Camp Nou could prove decisive for Barca, who already sit seven points clear of Diego Simeone’s side, their closest challengers at the top of the table.

Dembele appears to have suffered a recurrence of the hamstring strain he sustained during the win over Rayo Vallecano last weekend.

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“The tests performed have confirmed that Dembele has a muscle injury in his left hamstring,” a Barcelona statement read. “The approximate time out will be three to four weeks.”

The Frenchman was not deemed fit enough to start against Lyon but he was risked for the last 20 minutes as the visitors threatened a comeback.

Dembele finished off the 5-1 victory with a goal, latching onto Lionel Messi’s pass to confirm Barcelona’s place in the quarter-finals.


Injury Rules Barca’s Dembele Out For Two Weeks

Barcelona’s French forward Ousmane Dembele (down) gestures in pain next to Leganes’ Spanish goalkeeper Pichu Cuellar and Spanish referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea during the Spanish League football match between Barcelona and Leganes at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on January 20, 2019. Josep LAGO / AFP


Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele has been ruled out for two weeks after spraining his ankle at the weekend, the Spanish champions announced on Monday.

“Tests carried out on first team player Ousmane Dembele have confirmed a sprained ankle that will keep him out of action for approximately 15 days,” the club said in a statement.

The 21-year-old will miss both legs of Barca’s Copa del Rey quarter-final with Champions League-chasing Sevilla after picking up the injury during his side’s 3-1 home win over Leganes on Sunday, which maintained the Catalans’ five-point lead at the top of La Liga.

France international Dembele opened the scoring in the 32nd minute of his 50th Barca appearance with his 13th goal of the season.

He will also be unavailable for La Liga clashes with Girona and Valencia.


Messi Ready As Barca Drop Dembele

Barcelona’s Argentinian striker Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring their third goal during the Champions League group B football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona at Wembley Stadium in London, on October 3, 2018.


Ernesto Valverde has indicated Lionel Messi and Samuel Umtiti are both ready to return for Barcelona against Real Betis on Sunday but Ousmane Dembele has been dropped.

Messi has been out since breaking his arm against Sevilla on October 20 while Umtiti has been nursing a knee problem and has not played since September 26.

Both are included in the squad to face Betis in La Liga this weekend but there was a surprise omission for Dembele.

Valverde said the 21-year-old had been left out after a “sporting assessment”.

Messi’s return would come as a major boost to Barca. Their captain was included in the travelling squad to face Inter Milan on Wednesday but was not deemed fit enough even for the bench.

Asked if he could play 90 minutes against Betis, Valverde said: “We will see, but he’s lost his fear of falling or struggling against an opponent.

“You have to get that out of your head, you cannot be thinking if you are about to make a bad movement. I have seen him training well and with confidence.”

Messi’s absence should have been a golden opportunity for Dembele but the winger’s form has been mixed in recent weeks, while Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, Rafinha and Malcom have all impressed.

“Everyone can interpret it how they want but this is a team,” Valverde said. “I’m looking for the best for the team and that’s it.”

Barcelona paid around 105 million euros to sign Dembele from Borussia Dortmund last year but injury and inconsistency have plagued his career in Spain so far.

“Let’s hope he can make the most of all his talent so the team benefits and also the club, which has made a great investment in him,” Valverde added.

Umtiti has been a key player for Barca but the defender’s place in the starting line-up this weekend is not guaranteed, given Clement Lenglet has done well alongside Gerard Pique during the team’s strong run.

“It is great news that Lenglet has shown his level,” Valverde said. “Far from being a problem, it is perfect to have more possibilities, we will see tomorrow who plays.”

Barcelona sit three points clear at the top of La Liga and will hope for another victory against 14th-placed Betis, before the start of the international break.

Valverde also praised his full-back Jordi Alba, who earned a recall to the Spain squad for the first time under new coach Luis Enrique.

“We have seen Jordi improve every day,” Valverde said. “Every coach asks for something and his start to the season is spectacular. A call-up to the national team is well-deserved.”

Coutinho will not play against Betis. The midfielder is recovering from a hamstring strain.

Dembele Double Edges Barcelona Closer To Unbeaten Season

(L-R) Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s Portuguese defender Nelson Semedo and Barcelona’s French forward Ousmane Dembele celebrate a goal during the Spanish league football match between Barcelona and Villarreal at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona on May 9, 2018. PHOTO: Pau Barrena / AFP


Ousmane Dembele scored twice as Barcelona thrashed Villarreal 5-1 on Wednesday and edged closer to their first-ever unbeaten season in La Liga. 

Lionel Messi volleyed in a sumptuous pass from Andres Iniesta at Camp Nou to put Barca three up at half-time after Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho had scored one apiece in the first 16 minutes.

The second period, however, belonged to Dembele, who capped an excellent individual display with two goals after the Frenchman’s sensational run had also earlier set up Coutinho.

Villarreal managed a consolation when Pablo Fornals’ shot deflected in off Nicola Sansone but any fears Ernesto Valverde’s side would feel the effects of Sunday’s ‘Clasico’ proved unfounded.

The league leaders moved 15 points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top while Villarreal stay sixth.

Barca drew last weekend against Real Madrid, despite playing the entire second half with 10 men, and they now need only avoid defeat in matches away at Levante and home to Real Sociedad to complete the campaign as invincibles.

It would be the first time a team has finished a 38-game La Liga season unbeaten and the first in any format since Real avoided defeat in a division of only 10 teams in 1932.

“In the end we have scored two great goals, we are happy about this and we keep the run going,” Valverde said.

Already crowned champions and winners of the Copa del Rey, Barca were controversially denied a guard of honour by Real but Villarreal were happy to perform the ‘pasillo’ as the hosts walked out before kick-off.

Valverde left some key players out, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba and Ivan Rakitic all missing from the starting line-up.

Messi, however, was included despite calls for the Argentinian now to be rested ahead of this summer’s World Cup.

It meant a start for Dembele, who took his chance to impress with the stand-out performance of the night.

Dembele has endured a difficult debut season since joining for 147 million euros from Borussia Dortmund last year but Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said this week he is not for sale, and the 20-year-old delivered the perfect response.

“He is a player that has a lot of talent,” Valverde said. “He is fast, he has this spark. All players need a process of adaptation and when you are young you still have to learn. Next year Dembele will be with us.”

His run that set up Coutinho’s opener in the 11th minute was arguably the moment of the match as he picked up the ball 10 yards inside Villarreal’s half before driving past three defenders and unleashing a shot.

Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo palmed the ball away but only to Coutinho, who was left with a tap-in.

Paulinho doubled Barca’s lead five minutes later after a brilliant Iniesta pass allowed Lucas Digne to slide the ball across goal. Paulinho finished at the back post.

Iniesta was at the heart of the home side’s third too, this time a chipped ball playing in the darting Messi, who side-footed home on the volley.

Villarreal pulled one back after half-time when Fornals’ shot clipped the shoulder of Sansone to wrong-foot Jasper Cillessen.

But Dembele grabbed a late brace, his first an easy finish after a brilliant run by Rakitic down the right, his second coming after he sped away from Villarreal’s defence, and lifted the ball over the helpless Asenjo.


Valverde Says Barcelona Will Be Cautious With Dembele

Valverde Says Barcelona Will Be Cautious With Dembele
(Files) Barcelona’s coach Ernesto Valverde (R) talks to Barcelona’s French forward Ousmane Dembele during the Spanish Liga football match Barcelona vs Espanyol at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 9, 2017. LLUIS GENE / AFP


Ousmane Dembele, who is recovering from injury, has resumed light training with the Barcelona squad, coach Ernesto Valverde said on Saturday adding that he would be “prudent” with the winger.

Dembele has been hampered by injuries since his transfer from Dortmund last summer for 105 million euro ($124 million), plus add-ons. The 20-year-old attacker took part in a training session on Saturday, three weeks after his second thigh injury of the season.
The first injury, a few days after the Frenchman’s arrival in Barcelona, required surgery and kept him out until January. When Dembele returned, he re-injured the thigh.

“He did part of the session with the squad and next week he’ll join in more, little by little,” Valverde told a news conference. “We’ll see when he’s available.”

Barcelona are 11 points clear in La Liga and resume their Champions League campaign, against Chelsea, on February 14.

“Of course he’s not ready to play right now, we’ll try to be cautious with him, just like we were when he was recovering from his previous injury,” Valverde added. “He has had a little relapse and we are going to make sure it does not happen again.”

Dembele is not in the squad for the derby match against Espanyol in La Liga on Sunday. Victory would set a new club record of 22 matches unbeaten from the start of the season. Before this season, the longest Barcelona had stayed unbeaten was 21 games under Per Guardiola in 2009-2010.

“It’s a nice number,” Valverde said. “It means we are going in the right direction.”


Kylian Mbappe Wins 2017 Golden Boy Award

Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

France forward Kylian Mbappé has won the Golden Boy Award for the Best Young Player in Europe, fending off competition from Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembélé and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford.

Mbappé won by an overwhelming 291 votes, with Dembélé coming second on 149.

Manchester United’s Rashford was third and Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus fourth.

The 18-year-old came to prominence last season, scoring six Champions League goals to propel Monaco to the semi-finals while playing a huge part in the club’s title-winning Ligue 1 season, scoring 15 goals often from a wide position.

Mbappé is on loan at PSG, where he has scored four goals and made four assists in 11 games.