21 March at 08:50
Xavi claims that Barcelona’s summer signing, Ousmane Dembele, needs to prove that he belongs at the Camp Nou.
Speaking to French magazine So Foot, the Catalan legend had some kind words for the €105 million signing, but said that being a success with the Cules was like “getting a Master’s degree”.
“He will need some time. Barca is like a final exam for a footballer. It is like Dembele is passing a Master’s degree right now because not everyone can play for this club.
“Why? Because you have to know things three times more than elsewhere. Barca play on barely 30 metres of the pitch.
“Dembele has a lot of talent, he is very fast, but here, he is not going to have the space he had at Dortmund or Rennes. He had more space, so more time there.”
The French international has had some trouble in Spain, being signed for a huge sum but getting injured barely a few minutes into his career with the Blaugrana.
He was hurt again soon after returning against celta Vigo, but has since recovered to score against Chelsea and make four Liga assists.
Pressed on what Dembele must do to fit the Barca mould, Xavi added: “He will have to learn to think faster, in a few thousandths of a second. This is where we will see if he has the mentality.
“He must say to himself: ‘l am a Barca player’. You have to be mentally strong, to have conviction.
“There are average players who spent 15 years at Barca, because they had character. And there are some excellent players who did not do anything because they couldn’t handle pressure.”