"I don’t think his absence has impacted the team" - Xavi delivers brutally honest opinion on Barcelona outcast Ousmane Dembele 

Xavi claims his team didn't miss Dembele on the pitch against Athletic Bilbao
Xavi claims his team didn't miss Dembele on the pitch against Athletic Bilbao
Sushan Chakraborty

Barcelona boss Xavi has insinuated that Ousmane Dembele is not a difference-maker, claiming the Frenchman wouldn’t have influenced the club to a win against Athletic Bilbao. The former Borussia Dortmund player was left out of Barcelona’s Copa del Rey squad after alleging the club and its owners of blackmail.

The Blaugrana were handed an embarrassing 3-2 defeat by Athletic Bilbao in the domestic cup competition on Thursday night. The Catalans were trailing after just a couple of minutes of play, with Iker Muniain scoring the opener for the hosts. Barcelona’s newest acquisition Ferran Torres popped up with an equalizer in the 20th minute after Sergio Busquets played him on.

Athletic Bilbao struck again through Inigo Martinez in the dying minutes of the match, but Pedri came to Barcelona’s rescue with an injury-time equalizer. The match went into extra time and was ultimately settled with a 105th-minute Iker Muniain penalty.

Ousmane Dembélé: “For four years people have spoken for me, shamefully lied with a single purpose, the intention of harming me. I have been following my line of never answering for four years. Has it been a mistake? Surely. It’s over”. 🔴🇫🇷 #DembeleFull Dembouz statement ⤵️📑

In the post-match interview, Xavi was asked whether having Dembele on the pitch would have made a difference. The former Spain international blatantly shot down the claim, stating Dembele’s absence did not dictate the way his team performed at Bilbao.

As per Mirror, Xavi told reporters:

“Dembele is important but it is a club decision and we all agree on it - I don't think his absence has impacted the team.”

The 24-year-old has only featured in six La Liga games for the Camp Nou outfit this season, registering only two assists.

The club secured his services from Dortmund back in 2017 for a whopping €140 million. The player will be out of contract in June 2022, meaning Barcelona must act quickly if they want to avoid losing him for free next summer.

Barcelona issued a legal warning for asking Ousmane Dembele to leave

Barcelona have been warned over their potentially illegal treatment of forward Ousmane Dembele by the Professional Footballers Association (AFE) in Spain.

The former Dortmund man’s future at the Camp Nou has been in the air for quite some time now and the saga seems to have reached its final chapter. Barcelona sporting director Mateu Alemany recently revealed that the winger has been asked to leave the club as soon as possible.

The statement has drawn fire from the AFE Players Union, who insist that Alemany’s statement goes against the player’s “labor rights.” The club from Catalonia have not formally reacted to the legal warning yet, but a statement is expected sooner rather than later.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar


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