Ousmane Dembele has defended his decision to go on strike in a bid to force through a mega-money move from Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona.
France winger Dembele completed a €105 million switch to Barca after refusing to train during his final days with the Bundesliga club.
The 20-year-old’s actions drew widespread criticism but, back in Ernesto Valverde’s first-team plans and attempting to salvage an injury-plagued debut season at Camp Nou, Dembele asked critics to put themselves in his shoes.
“What else should I have done? If Barcelona cancelled their interest for the second time that would have been impossible for me,” he told Onze Mondial, referencing Barcelona’s initial interest during his breakthrough campaign at Rennes.
“I’d like to know how the people who criticise me would have behaved if they had been in my position.
“I had the impression that I would miss the fulfilment of my dream, which is why I behaved like that. That’s what I stand for.”
Dembele made his seventh La Liga appearance on Thursday when he came off the bench for the last 15 minutes of Barcelona’s 1-1 draw at Las Palmas.
Much of his first season in Spain has been troubled by a hamstring injury, which saw him miss almost the entire calendar until Christmas. Thereafter, he suffered a further muscular injury that prevented him playing for a month, and it is from that problem that he is currently being eased back into regular action.