Xavi hails Dembele potential after Laporta claims Barca star is better than Mbappe

By Sports Desk December 03, 2021

Xavi claimed Ousmane Dembele could become the "best player in the world in his position" after Barcelona president Joan Laporta suggested the forward is better than Kylian Mbappe.

Dembele, who was a €105million signing from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with a move away from Camp Nou in January.

The France international will be free to discuss fresh terms with clubs next month if a new contract cannot be agreed with current club Barca.

Laporta revealed on Thursday that negotiations were going slower than expected with Dembele but assured the following day that the 24-year-old wanted to stay and told TV3 he believes the Barca forward was better than Mbappe.

"We have a very good relationship with Dembele and he wants to stay," Laporta said.

"We also want him to stay because he's a great player. These situations need negotiations with representatives who want the best for the player.

"I'm enthusiastic about Dembele. He's a better player than Mbappe."

Asked for an update on the Dembele situation, Xavi told reporters:  "What I know is that it is not only the economic issue.

"We have left him a very clear position. He is a very important player with great talent. I already said it, he can be the best player in the world in his position. It depends on him. 

"We think of him as a key figure in this project. If it is because of the sporting project, he is happy. We are going to be positive. It is not just an economic issue. He wanted to feel loved and this he will have."

Questions were then put forward as to whether Dembele would feature without signing a contract and Xavi responded: "It would not be the objective, if he has a contract I think he has to play. 

"You have to be positive. But on the other hand, I am very clear on that, if you have a contract you have to play, also because of the image of the club. I do not value that option; I do not contemplate it."

 

Club legend Xavi took the reins after Ronald Koeman's dismissal in late October and has triumphed in his opening two LaLiga games – only four Barca managers have ever won their first three in the competition in the 21st century.

The Catalan club sit seventh, 13 points off leaders Real Madrid ahead of facing Betis, who have won just one of 20 previous top-flight meetings with Barca.

Xavi's side then face Bayern Munich on Wednesday in a crucial Champions League clash that they are likely to have to win to qualify for the knockout stages, but the former midfielder insisted his focus was on Betis.

"I look no further," Xavi responded when asked about the week ahead. "Each game is vital. Tomorrow is also a final. We cannot lose points if we want to connect and fight for the league. 

"We will play with the best 11, with whom I think they can perform better due to the circumstances. The league will tell us where we are at the end of the season.

"It is an important week like the next one will also be. And in January. Barca is a daily requirement and every game. 

"Every week at Barca is vital. There is no rest until the holidays and more in this situation, we can't give anything away.

"Barca aspires to win everything and time will always tell where we got to. We are a team made to win, compete and the notes will say where we have competed."

Related items

  • Browns coach Kevin Stefanski calls situation with QB Deshaun Watson, RB Kareem Hunt 'normal' Browns coach Kevin Stefanski calls situation with QB Deshaun Watson, RB Kareem Hunt 'normal'

    A quarterback facing a suspension amid an NFL disciplinary case over sexual misconduct allegations and a running back demanding a trade after the team nixed his request for a long-term contract extension is all part of a normal training camp, as far as Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is concerned.

    After the Browns opened camp with QB Deshaun Watson being suspended for six games – which the NFL is appealing to seek a harsher penalty – running back Kareem Hunt sat out practices over the weekend while wanting a new deal. That request was denied, prompting Hunt to ask to be traded.

    There is no shortage of drama at the Browns' camp, but Stefanski believes it is par for the course.

    ''We are working, there is no distraction,'' Stefanski said on Sunday. ''I understand there are things that happen that certainly get attention, and that's OK... This is normal. This is NFL football, as far as I know.''

    Hunt, who is in the final year of a two-year, $13.25million extension, did return to practice on Sunday, while Watson continues to train and is currently available to play in Cleveland's pre-season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday.

    "I would tell you, respectfully, we really do focus on what we can control,” Stefanski added. “I understand that there are things that happen that certainly get attention, and that is OK.

    "This is a great game. I know our fans love this game and follow every step along the way.

    "For us, we really are focused on trying to get better. We are not where we need to be, and we have a lot of work to do. That is what we are focusing on."

    Limited to just eight games in 2021 due to calf and ankle injuries, Hunt had 1,145 scrimmage yards and 11 total touchdowns for the Browns in 2020, while appearing in all 16 games.

    Cleveland made the playoffs that season with Hunt and Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb forming a solid one-two punch.

    The NFL's rushing leader in 2017 with Kansas City, Hunt joined the Browns in 2019 but sat out the first eight games that season after being suspended for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy while playing for the Chiefs.

    Watson, who was acquired by Cleveland in March, was suspended for the first six games of the upcoming season for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.

    The league, however, is seeking a longer penalty after two dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct during massage treatments while he played for the Houston Texans.

  • Dortmund address Haller absence by signing Modeste Dortmund address Haller absence by signing Modeste

    Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of experienced Bundesliga striker Anthony Modeste from Cologne for a reported fee of €5million.

    The 34-year-old has signed a one-year contract after it was revealed new arrival Sebastien Haller will miss a significant period due to being diagnosed with a testicular tumour last month.

    Haller had been signed as the replacement for Erling Haaland, who left for Manchester City earlier in the transfer window. 

    The former West Ham and Ajax striker underwent surgery in the first stage of his treatment, with Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl confirming Haller would be out "for a few months", but adding further treatment plans were still being discussed.

    On Sunday, Kehl confirmed Dortmund had reached an agreement with Cologne for Modeste, although he noted the move remained contingent on a medical being completed and personal terms agreed.

    With those formalities complete, the Frenchman is set to lead the line for the eight-time German champions in Haller's absence.

    Dortmund's new signing said: "I am very grateful to 1. FC Koln for the wonderful and successful time I had there. However, I have now decided to make a change.

    "The offer from BVB has given me a special chance to play in the Champions League at my age and to prove myself at the highest level. I am delighted about this opportunity and I promise that I will give everything for the success of the team and the club."

    Modeste has scored 83 goals in 190 Bundesliga games, spending two years at Hoffenheim before moving to Cologne for two spells either side of a short period in China and a brief time in France with Saint-Etienne.

    His knowledge of the league and aerial prowess will likely have been key reasons for Dortmund targeting him, with Modeste scoring eight headed goals in the first half of last season, the most by a player in the first half of a Bundesliga season since detailed data collection began in 2004-05.

    Dortmund won their first game of the Bundesliga campaign 1-0 against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday thanks to a Marco Reus goal, but did lose another new attacker Karim Adeyemi to injury in the first half at Signal Iduna Park.

     

  • Former Real Madrid star Isco completes Sevilla move Former Real Madrid star Isco completes Sevilla move

    Sevilla have completed the signing of Isco on a free transfer after Spain midfielder left Real Madrid at the end of last season.

    Isco spent nine years with Madrid, winning three La Liga titles and five Champions Leagues in his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    However, having fallen out of favour, Isco left following the expiration of his contract and Sevilla on Sunday revealed they had reached an agreement in principle to sign the playmaker.

    The LaLiga club on Monday confirmed Isco has passed his medical, and will be presented at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium at 9pm local time on Wednesday.

    He becomes the club's third signing of the transfer window after Marcao joined from Galatasaray and Alex Telles arrived on loan from Manchester United.

    Isco played under Julen Lopetegui briefly at Madrid, but particularly thrived under him with the national team, being involved in 11 goals in 14 games for Spain in all competitions while the Sevilla coach was in charge of La Roja (nine goals, two assists), only bettered by David Silva (17 – 11 goals, six assists).

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.