Ousmane Dembele has said that he skipped training at Borussia Dortmund in order to force through the move to Barcelona as he didn’t want to miss out on the chance to join the club.
Dembele was suspended, and reportedly fined by Dortmund, after he missed training in an attempt to make the move happen. He also returned to his native France to help and speed up the transfer before he was eventually signed by Barcelona for an initial €105 million.
Speaking this week the player said that he is glad he did what it took to secure the move, “I was relaxed. 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.”
Barcelona were interested in Dembele last summer but he decided to leave Rennes to join Borussia Dortmund, a decision that he says was right at that stage of his career.
He said that he needed to learn, to play in the Champions League and to “play a whole season with a big team, playing regularly, developing”. He said that while he would have learnt a lot in training at Barcelona, he feels he would not have had enough playing time to progress properly.
According to Dembele he has been a supporter of the team since he was eight years old and it was during a Champions League game against Arsenal in 2010 that he first became fully aware of the brilliance of Lionel Messi.
“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,” Dembele said.