Ousmane Dembele’s roller coaster month faces another big hill, as Barcelona’s big summer transfer purchase is set to miss up to four months with a thigh injury.
The club announced that Dembele, 20, is off to Finland for surgery on a ruptured tendon in his thigh following an injury in Barca’s 2-1 win over Getafe on Saturday.
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Dembele successfully forced a record transfer to Barcelona by sitting out BVB training, making Dortmund’s decision to sell him even easier. You don’t want to draw too many conclusions, but there’s a speculative argument to be made whether his fitness played a role in the injury (We’re certainly unlikely to find out).
Barca is 4-0 and leads La Liga ahead of Sunday’s match between 3-0 Real Sociedad and stumbling Real Madrid.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Lionel Messi scored a hat trick and Ousmane Dembele set up a goal in his debut for Barcelona in a comfortable 5-0 win over crosstown rival Espanyol on Saturday.
Messi struck twice in the first half, and leads the Spanish league with five goals. Gerard Pique headed in a fourth goal.
After going on as a second-half substitute, Dembele didn’t take long to help his team when he passed for Luis Suarez to round off the rout in the 90th.
A third win in as many rounds left Barcelona atop of the standings, with two more points than second-place Sevilla and four more points than defending champion Real Madrid in sixth.
Messi opened the scoring at Camp Nou when he received a pass from Ivan Rakitic in what appeared to be an offside position. With no call coming from the referee, Messi dribbled around a defender and fired home.
“They told me that the first goal could be offside, (…) but we did a lot to create several chances,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.
He got his second by sliding to redirect Jordi Alba’s pass by goalkeeper Pau Lopez. Messi started the attack but lost the ball, only for it to take two deflections off defenders before falling to Alba in the area.
After Espanyol forward Pablo Piatti hit the post, Messi made it a treble with a left-footed strike to slot in another pass from Alba.
Dembele went on moments later to a round of applause from his new supporters. Barcelona paid a club-record sum to Borussia Dortmund for the 20-year-old France forward. With add-ons, his transfer could reach $173 million.
Dembele showed his speed when he raced down the right side on a quick counterattack and crossed for Suarez to score.
Suarez was making his league debut this season after missing the first two matches with a leg injury.
Somebody apparently forgot to advise Ousmane Dembele that he ought to do some cardio during his self-imposed sabbatical from Borussia Dortmund.
Dembele successfully forced a record transfer to Barcelona by sitting out BVB training, making Dortmund’s decision to sell him even easier.
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But Barca coach Ernesto Valverde is in a predicament, according to Don Balon, which says the out-of-shape Dembele may not even be ready for a spot in Barca’s 18 despite his status as a record signing and the hopeful long-term replacement for Neymar.
Of course we don’t know whether Dembele was doing any training during his time away from BVB; He might’ve been running and winning four 5Ks a day.
Don Balon poses the millions and millions of dollars question in its post: Does Valverde risk making his board look awkward by sitting Dembele, or does he put the player in his 18 — or Starting XI — and send a message of which his players may not accept its political nature?
This is going to send Ousmane down a spot in our Dembele power rankings:
3. Ousmane Dembele, Barcelona
2. Moussa Dembele, Celtic
1. Mousa Dembele, Tottenham Hotspur
New Barcelona signing Ousmane Dembele has opened up about his transfer to La Liga from Bundesliga, and some of the details don’t exactly paint the player in a loyal light.
The 20-year-old admitted that he created excuses to skip Dortmund training to get the move he wanted. “I knew I had to have patience,” Dembele told Spanish outlet Sport. “I decided to stop going training. I didn’t want to go. I looked for an excuse not to go. If it didn’t work out and I hadn’t done my part to get the move to Barca, now I would be lamenting the fact I wasn’t here.”
So what was he doing instead of training? “I ran a little in the afternoon, although I couldn’t do it during the last few days because it was too hot. But above all I was by the phone, waiting to find out how everything was.”
Dembele played 90 minutes in the season-opening SuperCup against Bayern Munich, but missed out on the league opener against Wolfsburg and DFB-Pokal win over Rielasingen. He was suspended by the club for missing training, but that didn’t seem to bother the youngster.
The French international was hesitant to join Barcelona a year ago when they came knocking, knowing there was no room in the team, and instead joined Dortmund from Stade Rennais for just $16 million.
“I wanted to learn, play Champions League games, know what that competition was, to play a whole season with a big team, playing regularly, developing,” he said. “Luckily Barcelona have come back for a second time and this time I could not let the train pass.”
That he did, banking the German club over $100 million and intending to take Neymar’s place in the Barcelona team. “Neymar is a great player with a lot of class, one of the best in the world. I am young, I am here to learn and to add what I can to Barcelona.”
Borussia Dortmund added to its attack on the same day Barcelona unveiled its $173 million purchase of ex-BVB talent Ousmane Dembele.
Andriy Yarmolenko is joining the BVB attack, the 27-year-old rumored to cost the Bundesliga powers about $30 million.
Yarmolenko has spent his entire career with Dynamo Kyiv, scoring 137 times with 89 assists in 339 appearances.
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He has 19 goals and 18 assists outside of Ukrainian league and Cup play, seven and seven in the UEFA Champions League.
Yarmolenko shares a primary position with 18-year-old American winger Christian Pulisic, though both are quite versatile in the attacking third.
He also has the second-most goals in Ukraine national team history, 19 behind legendary Andriy Shevchenko.