Former Barcelona star Jordi Cruyff has urged fans to support Ousmane Dembele after the beleaguered French attacker was booed on Thursday.
In an interview with Infobae, Jordi Cruyff has reacted to Barcelona fans booing Ousmane Dembele in the recent UEFA Europa League clash against Napoli. The former Barcelona star has asked the supporters to stop whistling the beleaguered French attacker.
Ousmane Dembele is unlikely to be fondly remembered by Barcelona fans when he leaves the club in the summer transfer window. The 24-year-old was supposed to be the long-term replacement for Neymar following the Brazilian international’s move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.
But fitness woes, poor form and attitude issues have compounded Dembele’s problems at Barcelona, meaning he has never performed to his potential in the last four and a half years. To make matters worse, the French attacker is poised to leave Barcelona as a free agent after the two parties reached a point of no return during contract renewal negotiations.
Barcelona wanted Dembele to leave in the January transfer window, but a transfer did not come to fruition despite links with Chelsea, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain. With Dembele unlikely to sign a new deal, he is certain to depart Camp Nou as a free agent, with several clubs lining up to snap him up on a Bosman move.
Amid all this, Dembele’s relationship with the Barcelona fans has soured considerably. In a recent game against Napoli, Barcelona supporters jeered the French attacker upon his introduction as a second-half substitute. But that has not gone down well with Jordi Cruyff, who has urged fans to support Dembele.
“Hopefully they don’t whistle Dembele anymore,” Cruyff said. “I understand the public’s emotion, but when we’re on the pitch we have to support the players. You have to support all the players who wear the shirt, from the first day to the last. Sometimes things don’t go the way you want, Dembele didn’t renew but if the coach uses him, you have to support him when he plays.”
Earlier this week, Barcelona manager Xavi also lent Dembele support following the awkward reception. With the former Spanish international adamant about using the 24-year-old till he leaves the club, Barcelona fans might have to come on board with the idea of backing the Frenchman instead of jeering him.