Published On: Fri, Sep 13th, 2019

Lionel Messi tells Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele the ‘change’ he must make after Neymar saga | Football | Sport

Barcelona legend Lionel Messi has told Ousmane Dembele he needs to be more professional if he is to win over the club’s fans and his team-mates.

The Catalan giants signed Dembele from Dortmund for an initial fee of £96.8m back in 2017, however, the winger has struggled to hold down a first team spot in the side since making the move.

The 22-year-old French winger has reportedly struggled to learn Spanish and injuries, inconsistent form, and turning up late for training, has led to the player struggling to create a chemistry with his team-mates and supports.

Since making his move to Catalonia the winger has scored 18 goals and 17 assists in 66 appearances in all competitions.

But Messi hopes this season will be different for the France international.

“I believe he’s an impressive talent who can do whatever he wants,” Messi told Spanish publication Sport.

“He is very young and I think this year will be very important for him to make the step up that the whole of the Barcelona fan base wants to see.

“He needs to make that change to be more professional, to put that idea into his head, so he can be a success at Barcelona like he wants to be.

“I hope he doesn’t have the bad luck he’s had with injuries. Last year, when we needed him the most, he was injured.

“Hopefully that doesn’t happen this year and he’s able to show everything he has, which is a lot. As a player, he’s very impressive.”

Barcelona haven’t hidden the fact that they are interested in reaching an agreement with Paris Saint-Germain to get Neymar to return to the club, after the Brazilian admitted he is ready to end his two year spell in the French Capital.

And Barca even appeared happy to offload Dembele to PSG in a swap deal for Neymar but according to reports he was reluctant to make the move.

Not all signings are successful and of Barca’s 21 players who have joined the club since 2014 only six are still at the club.

And Messi thinks many new players struggle to adapt to life at the Nou Camp because they are not mentally strong enough to deal with the pressure of wearing the blue and garnet strip.

“It’s very difficult to play for Barcelona,” Messi added.

“It’s the biggest club in the world and everything that comes with it is tough. The supporters, the groups, the media coverage.

“It isn’t easy to come in and step out onto the Camp Nou pitch. It doesn’t matter for some and others feel it immediately.

“When someone has a strong mentality and is confident, everything works out. But not everyone is the same.

“Some people aren’t able to adapt to these things in the same way. It isn’t easy to play for Barcelona.”

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