Dembele lacks Messi mentality and Barcelona could sell – Domenech

David Lynch
  • David Lynch
  • Updated: 19 May 2021 15:39 CEST
  • 2 min read
David Lynch Updated: 19 May 2021 15:39 CEST 2 min read
Dembele lacks Messi mentality and Barcelona could sell – Domenech

Ousmane Dembele currently lacks the mentality to be a truly great player for Barcelona, Raymond Domenech has declared.

And, though the former France boss is in no doubt as to the winger’s ‘exceptional quality’, he does not believe his Camp Nou career can survive another injury lay-off.

Signed from Borussia Dortmund in a €145million deal in the summer of 2017, Dembele has struggled to live up to his lofty pricetag as a result of persistent fitness issues.

He has put those problems behind him this season, however, scoring nine goals in 35 appearances and getting on the scoresheet for France for the first time in almost three years earlier this week.

Still, Domenech wants to see a change in approach and an extended stint away from the treatment table before he is willing to declare a corner has been turned.

“He does not think like the stars,” the Frenchman told Cadena SER. “He thinks of playing, not of statistics and goals.

“He does not have the same mentality as Messi or Cristiano, who want to win and score. He has exceptional quality but he doesn’t have that mentality.

“I would not sell him because he can become a great player. He has all the qualities for it.

“He is very fast, he uses both feet. He can do anything. But if he gets hurt again, then it’s time to sell him.”

‘When he signed for Barca, something happened’

Domenech was also critical of another expensive Barca star, Antoine Griezmann, who has never been able to reproduce the form he showed for Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid after moving to Catalonia.

He added: “I don’t see the footballer I know when he plays for Barca. Same thing with the France team.

“When he signed for Barca, something happened. He doesn’t play the same way. is more the combative player than he was at Atletico.”

The Lyon-born boss, whose last stint in management saw him sacked by Nantes after eight winless games, maintains a strong loyalty to Barcelona, though.

And he has revealed that is because of a family link that has made him a lifelong fan of the club.

He continued: “Barca is my team. My father is Catalan, he was born near Tarragona. I have family in Rubi.

“I feel Catalan and I’m going there whenever I can. I saw my first game at Camp Nou when I was eight years old.”