offpitch | 2017-09-03
Ousmane Dembélé: "Personal titles aren't something which motivate me.”
New Barça signing, Ousmane Dembélé talks about Barcelona and his move in his new interview with SPORT.
Dembélé sits down with Albert Masnou in his new interview and discusses aspects of his move to Barcelona and how he had to do everything possible to make it happen. A brief over-view of the interview can be found below:
The interview began with Dembélé talking about his personal life, explaining that he is the oldest of four children and he went on to talk about his time at Rennais saying that he is “happy with how things went”. It’s no surprise that he chose Thomas Tuchel as the coach that left a mark on him and went on to joke that Tuchel “Loves me too much.”
It all worked out in the end for Dembélé who explained that he had a chance to join Barcelona last year but with the rise of Messi, Suarez and Neymar he felt as if joining back then would have “halted his progression”. After the second approach this summer, he could not let this opportunity pass. Although this has been dubbed a controversial matter as Dembélé abruptly stopped training, he explained his decision: 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 Barça, now I would be lamenting the fact I wasn't here. I was really nervous, although I could rest at night. I just wanted it to go through as quickly as possible. Now time to get back training and get back in shape, which is not too hard given my age and my weight.”
If one looks back at Dembélé’s press conference, you will remember him speaking about being a barça fan since he was eight years old so when asked about the game he remembers, he said: “I remember two games especially. 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 done well in the first leg but in the second leg they produced a brilliant performance, with four goals from [Lionel] Messi. That's when I realised Messi's not from this world. It was incredible.” However, he did go on to admit that he has never seen a game live at Camp Nou. With being a Barça fan, came the obvious question: “Who is your favourite player?” to which he responds “Iniesta. I had a poster of Iniesta. He seemed like a different player to me: elegant, special... a genius. I watched all the Barcelona games to see how they played and the geniuses, Iniesta and Messi. After, I tried to imitate them but it was difficult because they do things that no one does. Messi always plays at a sublime level. He's the best player in history.”
Dembélé thinks that there should not be any Neymar comparisons with him because: “Neymar is a great player with a lot of class, one of the best in the world. I am young; I am here to learn and to add what I can to Barcelona. My first task at Barcelona is to integrate himself with the team, offer good performances and win as many trophies as possible.” – the obvious next question is whether that includes personal trophies? To which he surprisingly replied, “Personal titles aren’t something which motivate me.”
The best part of the interview I would have to say was the question no one is going to let him forget, ‘Are you right footed or left footed’ and his answer for the third time this week (Yes I am keeping count): “I am not the only player who plays with both feet. There are a lot. Here at Barça, too. I have always, since I was young, wanted to play with both feet, not just one because it limits you. I hope to improve here and be strong mentally.”
He went on to say that he looks forward to the new challenge and that: “I am not scared. I am impressed. I'm focused on getting up to speed because I hadn't trained for two weeks. There's little else I can do apart from get to know how things work here and keep assimilating. They play differently here. It's another way of understanding football and I hope I adapt. I have to remember all the information that I've been given by [Lucas] Digne, [Samuel] Umtiti and Theo. Here it's about possession, passing. I've followed it a lot on television. I hope to learn to play like this, although my qualities are speed, attacking, one-on-ones.”
To tie up the interview he wanted to remember those people affected by the attack in Barcelona with some heartfelt words: “It was terrible for all of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and the entire world. I will never understand why people do these things. I am sad for the whole world.”
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