Barcelona News: Dembele needs to be more professional, claims Lionel Messi
Ousmane Dembele's Barcelona career has been anything but plain sailing, as the Frenchman has struggled with injuries and off-field issues in his two seasons at the club.
His attitude has been questioned numerous times by his teammates and Lionel Messi is the latest to weigh in on the topic.
In an exclusive interview with SPORT, Messi has revealed that Dembele's professionalism needs to improve if his game were to elevate to new heights, adding that injuries have played their part in his stop-start career at Barcelona.
"He needs to make that change to be more professional, to put that idea into his head, so he can be a success at Barcelona like he wants to be. I hope he doesn’t have the bad luck he’s had with injuries."
Dembele is widely regarded as one of the brightest young talents in world football but his attitude has come under severe criticism in recent seasons, as he has been guilty of reporting late to training and placing enough faith in his abilities.
"I believe he’s an impressive talent who can do whatever he wants. He is very young and I think this year will be very important for him to make the step up that the whole of the Barcelona fan base wants to see."
The World Cup winner made decisive contributions last season but was hampered by injuries when the club needed him the most, thereby increasing the goalscoring burden on Messi.
"Last year, when we needed him the most, he was injured. Hopefully that doesn’t happen this year and he’s able to show everything he has, which is a lot. As a player, he’s very impressive."
Dembele is currently recovering from a hamstring injury he picked up on the opening day of the LaLiga season and is close to returning to full fitness.
The former Borussia Dortmund man will look to put his injury woes behind him and play a pivotal role as Barcelona look to compete on all fronts this season.