‘The best one-on-one player’ – Ousmane Dembele gets ‘few like him in the world’ billing from Barcelona boss Xavi

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Barcelona boss Xavi is delighted to have Ousmane Dembele back, billing the World Cup-winning forward as “the best one-on-one player” around.
  • Winger has struggled with injuries
  • Back to fitness at Camp Nou
  • Coach expects him to sparkle

WHAT HAPPENED? France international winger Dembele has suffered more misfortune on the injury front this season, with his time at Camp Nou having been plagued by form and fitness issues. His latest spell on the sidelines has lasted three months, with the 25-year-old not seen since January 28, but he has made a welcome return to Barca’s squad heading into a meeting with Real Betis on Saturday and Xavi expects the unique talent to make an immediate impact.

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WHAT THEY SAID: Xavi has said of the talent Dembele possesses and why he is so important to the Blaugrana cause: “We have missed him. He is the best one-on-one player, there are few in the world like him. Ask the full-backs in La Liga who they prefer. He’s a player with tremendous speed, he’s a difference-maker. It’s logical that we’ve missed him.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: A thigh problem has prevented Dembele from making a decisive contribution for Barca of late, but Xavi is ready to throw him back in against Betis. He added: “The sensations were not good and the injury was in a striking area that was more difficult to heal. He is fine and happy. We’ll see if we start him or use him as a substitute, but it’s very important news for us.”


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Ousmane Dembele injured Barcelona 2022-23

Ousmane Dembele Barcelona 2022-23

WHAT NEXT? Barca, who hold an 11-point lead over Clasico rivals Real Madrid at the top of the Liga table, are just a few positive results away from recapturing a domestic crown and confirming their coronation as kings of Spanish football for the first time since 2018-19.