Ousmane Dembele admits he wasted FIVE YEARS of his career at Barcelona amid battles with injuries, bad form and disciplinary problems before turning a corner – and feared he would “stagnate” if he didn’t ban his fitness problems.
- Ousmane Dembele admits he wasted time at Barcelona after arriving in 2017
- The 25-year-old has suffered from a number of hamstring injuries in his career
- Barcelona almost forced the winger to leave last year after his contract expired
- Dembele says he is satisfied with the club and wants to win the Champions League
Ousmane Dembele admitted he had “wasted the last five years of his life” at Barcelona and feared he might “stagnate” if he didn’t get to the bottom of his injury problems.
The 25-year-old joined the Catalan club from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 and initially struggled to make it to the finish line £ 135 million in commission the club paid for him after he was plagued with recurring soft tissue injuries for the past five years.
Life in Spain didn’t get off to a good start for the winger after he was barred from most of the 2017/18 season due to a hamstring injury just weeks after joining the club.
Ousmane Dembele admits he wasted five years of his career during a difficult time at Barcelona
Hamstring injuries have plagued the Barcelona winger’s time since he arrived in 2017
This would turn into a recurring problem, with the French international missing around 102 matches for Barcelona since his arrival, despite making 158 appearances and scoring 34 goals for the club.
Dembele has since changed form under new manager Xavi and scored two goals and four assists in seven starts under the Spaniard this season. Last season with Ronald Koeman and Xavi, he got 13 assists in La Liga.
But speaking to RMC Sport, Dembele reflected on his difficult moments and how he “wasted” much of his career at the Nou Camp.
‘My lifestyle in my early years at Barca? I was young like everyone else. But I managed to get out of this situation. However, not everything is as people imagined. From 2017 to 2021, I wasted my time enormously. I wasted five years of my life.
‘I had to work to be able to play and perform. I wanted to be healthy, to be healthy to be able to play and then to be able to do better little by little.
Dembele has left his fitness and fitness issues behind and is excelling under Xavi (R)
Dembele underwent hamstring surgery in 2020 and missed most of the season, admitting the club had told him he needed to get stronger to prevent him from getting hurt in the future.
‘I’ve had a lot of hamstring injuries. If you don’t work, you stagnate. You will get hurt if you don’t get stronger, they told me. With Koeman and Xavi it went better. I haven’t had any injuries since. We cross our fingers, We continue to work.
I’m fine, I feel good at Barcelona, I have the confidence of the whole team, of the whole club and I am happy. Now everyone is talking about football, it’s better. ‘
Rumors of his departure have dominated the headlines in recent years and this almost materialized in January, when talks on contract renewal with the Blaugrana came to a standstill and Dembele was almost forced to leave the club short of cash.
While previously insisting that he would never want to leave Barcelona, Dembele said it was Xavi who played a role in convincing him to stay and perform at Camp Nou and he was now pleased with the club.
‘With Koeman and Xavi, it went better. I haven’t had any injuries since. We cross our fingers, we continue to work.
Dembele says things have improved since Ronald Koeman and Xavi joined Barcelona
‘We cross our fingers, we continue to work. I’m fine, I feel good at Barcelona, I have the confidence of the whole team, of the whole club and I am happy. Now everyone is talking about football, it’s better.
With Xavi’s trust, I was forced to stay. I really want Barça to win the Champions League again. It’s been seven years since the club won. ‘
He signed a new two-year contract in July accepting a 40% salary cut as Barcelona try to overcome their financial woes, while Dembele will receive a 50% cut in his transfer fee if a club pays over £ 43m for he.