Copa del Rey: Xavi: “For me Ousmane is still one of the best in the world in his position” | Sports

Dembélé in front of Diego Rico, in the duel between Barcelona and Real Sociedad.
Dembélé in front of Diego Rico, in the duel between Barcelona and Real Sociedad.Siu Wu (EFE)

Dembélé agrees with Xavi. “Well, they agree with him. We try to guide you. For me Ousmane is still one of the best in the world in his position. He has conditions. Then he has to believe it. Here it is important to have the mentality to believe it”, stressed the Barca coach. After Xavi insisted and insisted that the sports management renew the Frenchman against his will last summer, Dembélé consolidated his upward performance this Wednesday in a round match against Real Sociedad. It was enough for Barça with the Frenchman’s football to seal his pass to the semifinal of the Copa del Rey. The winger made it 1-0 and adds up to his eighth goal of the season (he is Barca’s second top scorer behind Lewandowski, 22). To his statistics, in addition, we must add seven assists.

Xavi gets serious in the Copa del Rey. The coach left behind the massive rotations, with the majority of less important players in the lineups in the duels against Intercity and Ceuta, to surrender to the gala eleven. At least, the eleven that gave him his first title as Barcelona coach in the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid in Riyadh. The drawing, in any case, had a nuance. La Real, which usually uses the bands to attack, does not have a winger with Vinicius’ pepper. So, it was no longer necessary to have a physical marvel like Araujo on the right side. Xavi chose to place Koundé on the wing, as he usually does, to send the Uruguayan behind along with Christensen.

On the right wing, the Barça coach opted for the French duo, between Koundé and Dembélé. A couple that had been singled out in the final of the last World Cup (Deschamps, the French coach, changed Dembélé before he finished the first half), a key partnership, in any case, to disarm Real Sociedad. After, in the first half, Dembélé threatened the defense of Imanol Alguacil’s box again and again, the winger broke the defense of the Basque team just when it was most closed. After the expulsion of Brais Méndez, Real backed down. Fewer spaces and more room for Dembélé to exploit his speed. Koundé found a hole for his compatriot to attack into space and plant herself in the area to beat Remiro.

“Dembele has matured a lot since we’ve been here. We give you many tools. I always tell her that she has to dive into space because his speed is lethal. I see many conditions in him, he is a dagger, I see the suffering face of the sides. He has tremendous potential, I believe in him a lot”, added the Barça coach. Araujo added to the praise of the Frenchman: “Great game from Ousmane. We know the quality of player that he is. He helps us with goals. He is making good decisions, which is the most important thing, something that perhaps was difficult for him at the beginning ”.

In one band Dembélé attacked, in the other Gavi. The Andalusian still cannot wear the number 6. Despite the fact that Barça no longer has the salaries of Gerard Piqué (retired) and Memphis Depay (transferred to Atlético de Madrid), the Catalan entity cannot register the new contract of the homegrown player, agreed last September. Gavi will therefore continue, at least until the end of the season, with number 30 on his back. The Barça club has exceeded the cap of the first team’s salary mass and breaches two articles to register a player according to current regulations. The first says that for renewals the cost of the squad for the following season is taken into account; the second, that for exceptional income, such as Barça’s levers (sale of assets), a treasury plan must be presented for the following two years. Gavi, in any case, forget about the offices.

And Dembélé took advantage of the Andalusian. The Frenchman, who monopolized the Barça attack, not only has Lewandowski, his attack partner, in his sights, but also Gavi. But the crossbar denied the goal to the squad player. Dembélé was at the service of the team. When Xavi opted to replace Balde with Raphinha, the Frenchman changed sides, the left, where he feels less comfortable, so that the Brazilian could exploit the best version of him on the right. He didn’t care and went about his business.

That is to say, Barça bet on him every time they wanted to scare Real. “Ousmane is also enjoying himself and the people with him. I am happy for him because he is a good boy and he is a good professional”, said Xavi. A year ago, Dembélé was separated from the team, by decision of the sports management, because the footballer had not yet renewed his contract. “He has turned the tables and that is not easy at Barça”, closed the Barca coach. The Frenchman’s football was rewarded by him, on one of his best nights at the Camp Nou, the Barça fans gave him an ovation when Ansu Fati replaced him. It was not be for lowerly.

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