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.”