Xavi Hernandez has spoken about Ousmane Dembele’s contract situation, claiming the Frenchman is an exemplary professional.

Speaking ahead of Barcelona’s UEFA Europa League clash against Napoli, as quoted by ESPN, Xavi Hernandez has had his say on Ousmane Dembele’s situation at Camp Nou. The Barcelona manager has insisted that the Frenchman is an “exemplary professional” while adding he hopes to see the contract rebel stay put in Catalonia.

Ousmane Dembele became the pantomime villain for Barcelona fans in the January transfer window after news broke out that he would not be signing a new contract with the club. With the French international’s current deal running out in the summer, Barcelona rightly wanted to offload the 24-year-old in the winter.

But a January transfer never came to fruition, with Dembele staying put at Camp Nou despite being linked with Chelsea, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain. So it was hardly surprising that Barcelona fans greeted Dembele with jeers when he finally took to the pitch after the end of the winter saga.

Xavi immediately sprung to Dembele’s defence following the boos from the Barcelona fans, suggesting that the Frenchman would turn the jeers into applause. And now, the Barcelona boss has claimed that Dembele has been a true professional at Barcelona while iterating his desire to manage the 24-year-old beyond this season.

Xavi said, “He looks happy. He is an exemplary professional. I have not had a single problem with him and I have heard all sorts. That he has not been professional, that he doesn’t take care of himself… it is the opposite.”

“He trains well and he is positive around the group. As for the rest, let’s see. His deal is up at the end of the season and [what happens] depends on him and the club. All I can say is that he is a player I really like.”

Only time will tell if Dembele and Barcelona have a change of heart and extend their union beyond the summer transfer window. Barcelona’s January signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has also urged Dembele to remain at Camp Nou, and it remains to be seen if the Frenchman mends fences to continue his stint with the Blaugrana.

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