Ousmane Dembele honored to play with Messi

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France international, Ousmane Dembele has said it’s an honor to play alongside some world-class footballers, including Barcelona talisman, Lionel Messi describing him as a ‘genius’.

Dembele left Borussia Dortmund for the Nou Camp around August 2017, despite his Barcelona days are being marred with all sorts of injuries, but the 23-year-old winger is trying to keep his head in La Liga waters, hence, cementing his place in the Koeman Ronald led side. The Frenchman has only scored two goals, giving out two assists in sixteen league appearances.

Ousmane Dembele

But Dembele has lauded his teammate, Messi, and other top players he has played within Spain’s topflight.

“It’s honestly an honour for me to play alongside him,” Dembele

Dembele conceded that he has learned from many of my top-rated stars in Barca since joining the club in 2017, but he said Messi has inspired him the most.

“There are world-class players here whom you learn from every day. I’ve been able to play alongside Andrés Iniesta, Luis Suárez. They gave me a lot of advice when I joined. Lionel Messi too.”

“Leo is a genius, we all know about him. He’s a genius; he’s the best player in the history of football. He inspired me when I was young, he inspires me now, and it’s honestly an honour for me to play alongside him.”

“When I got here in 2017, I was told: “Don’t look behind you when Leo has the ball at his feet. Go and run into space. Don’t worry, the ball will reach you.” He-playing his fourth season with the Catalan giants- spoke of Messi’s abilities- his pace.

I was constantly told that. When I start running, he always finds the pass and when he can’t, he’ll try again. It’s like he’s got eyes in the back of his head.” He told UEFA.com

The former Stade Rennais winger said that he has changed greatly. On his arrival to Barca, Dembele said he was weak physically, but his life at the club has witnessed a turnaround, despite having some physical challenges in Spain.

“Time flies. I’ve changed a lot. How have I changed the most? Physically, I think. When I came here, I was very frail. Even when I was starting out professionally at Stade Rennais and Borussia Dortmund, I was very frail.” He narrated 

“But I’ve come on a long way at Barcelona with the physical trainers, etc. My way of training, my way of preparing for matches, it’s all changed.”

“The years go by and I’m growing up, so it’s kind of normal for me to change a bit. I’m more comfortable, I feel good here in Barcelona and in my own life. Even though I had three years of little physical problems, those are the challenges of life, and that’s just how it is. You have to face them with a smile.”

As Barca prepares for a crucial tie with French giants, Paris Saint Germain‘s on Tuesday, Ousmane Dembele explains his experiences at the club and expectations that will come out of the tie with the Mauricio Pochenttino led the side

He said that there are possibilities that the French side will revenge the heavy loss in the hands of Barca- when they knocked PSG out of the UCL in 2017, becoming the first to qualify for the next stage after a four-goal deficit.

“The ‘Remontada’ in March 2017 will go down in history, especially for Barcelona – 4-0 in the [round of 16] first leg is very difficult to recover from for any team in Europe, even in the Champions League. But Barcelona did it with a great side, with world-class players like Neymar, Leo [Lionel Messi] and Andrés Iniesta.”

“There will be revenge in the air due to the media trying to spice up things. However, we don’t talk about it in the squad because we know it’ll be a difficult game.”

“We know Paris; they’re the current Champions League runners-up. They’re among the favourites to win the trophy, so we’re focusing more on the game itself. [The ‘Remontada’] was four or five years ago, a lot has changed on both sides.”

Ousmane Dembele said the squad is in good shape under the club’s manager, Ronald Koeman. He said everyone is on good terms with him.

Barcelona manager, Ronald Koeman

“The team is in top shape physically. And honestly, the way that [Koeman] manages the squad on a personal level is great. Everyone’s happy with his arrival and the work that he’s doing, and we’re going to keep going. We’re halfway through the season, we’ve got one or two aims, and we’ll do our best to win some trophies.”

Barcelona is third on the league table- eight points behind Atletico Madrid, who are the potential 2020/21 league champions.