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"Lionel Messi tells me to calm down sometimes"- says Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele

Sevilla v FC Barcelona: Copa del Rey Semi Final First Leg
Sevilla v FC Barcelona: Copa del Rey Semi Final First Leg
Varun Totadri
ANALYST
Modified 17 Feb 2021
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Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele has revealed Lionel Messi occasionally asks him to slow down a bit. The French international has become a regular starter under Ronald Koeman for Barcelona this season after missing most of last year due to injury.

Ousmane Dembele joined Barcelona in the summer of 2017 from Borussia Dortmund in a deal worth €130 million. The Frenchman was signed as a replacement for Neymar, who left Barcelona to join PSG that summer.

Dembele has shown glimpses of his quality and potential at Barcelona but has been unable to live up to the hype due to a combination of injuries and disciplinary issues.

The 23-year-old has, however, managed to put his injury woes behind him and has become one of Barcelona's key players this season. The French World Cup winner, who is in his fourth season at the Camp Nou, has now revealed that he has learned a lot from Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi.

"He [Messi] tells me how to position myself and when to pass because I like to dribble when I have the ball. I like to go forward on my own. Sometimes he tells me to calm down, to go out wide, or wait for a teammate and not to always try and dribble past three or four opponents," Dembele told UEFA.com ahead of Barcelona's clash with PSG in the round of 16 first leg.

Ousmane Dembele's hails Lionel Messi's impact on Barcelona

Ousmane Dembele in action during FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League
Ousmane Dembele in action during FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League

Ousmane Dembele went on to reveal how teammates told him to always stay attentive whenever Messi had the ball as the Argentine would always find the open man.

"When I got here in 2017, I was told, "Don't look behind you when Leo [Messi] has the ball at his feet. Go and run into space. Don't worry the ball will reach you. I was constantly told that. When I start running, he always finds the pass and when he can't, he'll try again. It's like he's got eyes on the back of his head," said Dembele.
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Ousmane Dembele also said he was honored to play alongside Lionel Messi, and continues to learn a lot from the Argentine.

"Leo is a genius, we all know about him. He's a genius, he's the best player in the history of football. He inspired me when I was young, he inspires me now, and it's honestly an honor for me to play alongside him," he finished.
Published 17 Feb 2021, 14:04 IST
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