Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Dembele: I had to go on strike to seal Barcelona move

SoccerNews in La Liga 3 Sep 2017

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Ousmane Dembele has no regrets about going on strike at Borussia Dortmund, saying such behaviour was necessary to force a move to Barcelona.

France winger Dembele secured a €105million switch to Camp Nou, signing a five-year deal, as Barca sought a replacement for Neymar following the Brazilian’s world-record €222m move to Paris Saint-Germain.

As his transfer edged closer, Dembele refused to train with Peter Bosz’s side – an act which cost him his place in the most recent France squad.

But the 20-year-old has no regrets, and says he would have in fact regretted not going on strike had the transfer failed to materialise.

“I was relaxed,” Dembele told Sport. “It was a question of negotiation between Barca and Borussia.

“I knew I had to have patience. I decided to stop going training. 

“I didn’t want to go. I looked for an excuse not to go. 

“If it didn’t work out and I hadn’t done my part to get the move to Barca, now I would be lamenting the fact I wasn’t here.”

Dembele credited a pair of famous Champions League fixtures as sparking a long-held interest in the Catalan giants – their semi-final victory over Chelsea in 2009 and a quarter-final tie against Arsenal in 2010 in which Lionel Messi scored four goals.

“I remember two games especially,” he said. “One against Chelsea, when [Andres] Iniesta scored the goal to qualify for the Champions League final.

“When I see Andres now I remember it. I can’t wait to tell him. 

“And the other was a Champions League game against Arsenal. Barcelona had not done great in the first leg but in the second leg they produced a brilliant performance, with four goals from Messi. That’s when I realised Messi’s not from this world. It was incredible.” 

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