Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up
NBCSports Header Logo

Dembele says he forced Barcelona move by skipping Dortmund training

France v England - International Friendly

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 13: Ousmane Dembele of France celebrates as he scores their third goal during the International Friendly match between France and England at Stade de France on June 13, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Getty Images

New Barcelona signing Ousmane Dembele has opened up about his transfer to La Liga from Bundesliga, and some of the details don’t exactly paint the player in a loyal light.

The 20-year-old admitted that he created excuses to skip Dortmund training to get the move he wanted. “I knew I had to have patience,” Dembele told Spanish outlet Sport. “I decided to stop going training. I didn’t want to go. I looked for an excuse not to go. If it didn’t work out and I hadn’t done my part to get the move to Barca, now I would be lamenting the fact I wasn’t here.”

So what was he doing instead of training? “I ran a little in the afternoon, although I couldn’t do it during the last few days because it was too hot. But above all I was by the phone, waiting to find out how everything was.”

Dembele played 90 minutes in the season-opening SuperCup against Bayern Munich, but missed out on the league opener against Wolfsburg and DFB-Pokal win over Rielasingen. He was suspended by the club for missing training, but that didn’t seem to bother the youngster.

The French international was hesitant to join Barcelona a year ago when they came knocking, knowing there was no room in the team, and instead joined Dortmund from Stade Rennais for just $16 million.

“I wanted to learn, play Champions League games, know what that competition was, to play a whole season with a big team, playing regularly, developing,” he said. “Luckily Barcelona have come back for a second time and this time I could not let the train pass.”

That he did, banking the German club over $100 million and intending to take Neymar’s place in the Barcelona team. “Neymar is a great player with a lot of class, one of the best in the world. I am young, I am here to learn and to add what I can to Barcelona.”

Follow @the_bonnfire