Ousmane Dembele admits he wasted FIVE YEARS of his Barcelona career amid battles with injuries, poor form and discipline issues before he took a turn – and feared he would ‘stall’ if he didn’t banish his fitness issues

  • Ousmane Dembele admits losing time at Barcelona after joining in 2017
  • The 25-year-old has been blighted by a series of hamstring injuries during his career
  • Barcelona almost forced the winger out last year after his contract expired
  • Dembele says he’s happy with the club and wants to win the Champions League

Ousmane Dembele has admitted he ‘wasted the last five years of his life’ at Barcelona and fears he’ll ‘stagnate’ if he doesn’t get to the bottom of his injuries.

The 25-year-old joined Catalan club Borussia Dortmund in 2017 and initially struggled to live up to the benchmark £135m in fees the club paid for him after he was plagued with recurring soft tissue injuries for the past five years.

Life in Spain hasn’t gotten off to a smooth start for the winger after he was ruled out for the majority of the 2017/18 season with a hamstring injury weeks after joining the club.

Ousmane Dembele admits wasting five years of his career during difficult time at Barcelona

Hamstring injuries have plagued the winger's time at Barcelona since joining in 2017

Hamstring injuries have plagued the winger’s time at Barcelona since joining in 2017

This would become a recurring problem, with the France international continuing to would have has missed around 102 games for Barcelona since joining, despite making 158 appearances and scoring 34 goals for the club.

Dembele has since changed his form under new boss Xavi and has scored twice and provided four assists in seven starts under the Spaniard this term. Last season under Ronald Koeman and Xavi, he managed 13 assists in La Liga.

But talk to RMC SportsDembele reflected on his difficult times and how he ‘wasted’ a large part of his career at the Nou Camp.

“My lifestyle in my first years at Barça? 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 a lot. I wasted five years of my life.

“I had to work to be able to play and play. I wanted to be healthy, to be healthy so I could play and then I could perform better bit by bit.

Dembele has put his fitness and form issues behind him and excels under Xavi (R)

Dembele has put his fitness and form issues behind him and excels under Xavi (R)

Dembele underwent hamstring surgery in 2020 and has missed almost all of this season, admitting the club told him he needed to get stronger to prevent him from getting injured in the future.

“I had a lot of hamstring injuries. If you don’t work, you will stagnate. You’ll hurt yourself, if you don’t get stronger, they told me. With Koeman and Xavi it ​​got better. Since then, I have had no injuries. Fingers crossed, we keep working.

“I’m fine, I feel good at Barcelona, ​​I have the confidence of the whole team, of the whole club and I’m happy. Now everyone is talking about football, it’s better”.

Rumors of his departure have dominated the headlines for the past few years and it almost materialized in January when talks over a contract renewal with the Blaugrana reached an impasse and Dembele was nearly sent off by the cash-strapped club.

While previously insisting he never wanted to leave Barcelona, ​​Dembele claimed that it was Xavi who played a part in getting him to stay and perform at Camp Nou and he is now happy with the club.

“With Koeman and Xavi it ​​got better. Since then I haven’t had any injuries. Fingers crossed we keep working.

Dembele claims things have improved since Ronald Koeman and Xavi arrived at Barcelona

Dembele claims things have improved since Ronald Koeman and Xavi arrived at Barcelona

‘Fingers crossed, we continue to work. I’m fine, I feel good at Barcelona, ​​I have the confidence of the whole team, the whole club and I’m happy. Now everyone is talking about football, it’s better.

“With Xavi’s confidence, I was forced to stay. I really want Barca 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% pay cut as Barcelona try to overcome their financial difficulties, while Dembele will receive a 50% reduction in his transfer fee if a club pays more than 43 million pounds for him.

Advertising