FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi on France foward Ousmane Dembele after latest case of unpunctuality
Posted: 11 December 2018 Time: 15:30
FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has opened up about the club's precocious talent Ousmane Dembele who arrived two hours late for training this week after several cases of ill-discipline.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup winner has dominated the headlines following his actions this season, from turning up late for training due to video gaming addictions, to missing team meetings.
As a result, his future has been subject to intense transfer speculation with reports suggesting Arsenal, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain are keeping an eye on his development in Spain.
Having set back the Blaugrana £94 million, as the direct replacement for Neymar, he hasn't quite lived up to his expectation but he's shown glimpses of his undeniable potential.
But Messi is a firm believer that he should remain at the Camp Nou, despite his recent unprofessionalism.
"He's very good," Messi told Spanish press, as per AS.
"He wants to play, he had a good game [against Espanyol], scored a goal and was important.
"We need him."
Meanwhile, the club's head coach Ernesto Valverde has brushed off his latest incident; "It happened to me!
"I knew you were going to ask about Dembele. It's true that some things have happened, we will try to solve things internally, and there's not much more to say about this.
"It is a new situation, and we want to help this player, because he has great talent, and we want to help him make the most of it.
"These are questions about an internal matter, he's a player who gives us a lot of things in the field, but in the same way that others contribute a lot on the pitch. We all have to follow some guidelines here."
Since his arrival from Borussia Dortmund in August last year, the 21-year-old has scored 12 goals and registered 13 assists in 42 games across all competitions.