Barcelona lost the main assistant (7 goals) in the midst of the season: Ousmane Dembele tore the rectus muscle of his left thigh and flew out for 5 weeks. The Frenchman will miss the Copa del Rey semi-finals and both matches against Manchester United in the Europa League.
Usman’s medical record for 6 years in Barcelona is impressive: 16 injuries and coronavirus.
Of almost 28 thousand potential minutes, Dembele played only 10.6 thousand. Worst season 2019/20: 493 minutes total in La Liga and Champions League.
During the same period, he earned more than 90 million euros (40 – net).
But this is Usman’s first serious injury under Xavi: there was a coronavirus and calf muscle fatigue (he missed the matches of the national team, but not the club).
Dembele’s main problem is the thigh muscles. But two operations (and an approach) seem to have helped
11 of the 16 Frenchman’s injuries involve the thigh muscles. At the beginning of 2020, sports doctor Artem Ryzhenko explained :
“Biceps injuries are very common in positions that require a lot of running work – wingers and wingbacks (think Coman, Bale).
Muscle-tendon injuries, as well as specifically damage to the biceps muscle, are classified as overload injuries (overuse injuries), they usually occur against the background of the fact thatan unprepared muscle is simply overloaded, it does not stand up and breaks. The reason can be both overtraining and detraining..
Of course, we know the relationship between the early Dembele and the regime.
• On October 20, 2018, in a match against Sevilla, Messi was injured already in the 26th minute. While the Argentine was being assisted, Valverde sent Dembele to warm up. The Frenchman did it as slowly as possible and appeared on the field only after 10 minutes, which Barca spent in the minority.
On October 24, Barça played Inter at home in the Champions League. All the players arrived at the Camp Nou at 19:00, except for Dembele, who arrived at 19:25. Valverde left the Frenchman in reserve, although he planned to release at the start (Rafinha came out instead). Most likely, Usman knew that he would not be released, so he did not even warm up during the game. The Spanish media put forward two versions: this is a punishment for being late or for a long substitution in the game with Sevilla.
• In August 2019, Ousmane refused to undergo a medical after a game against Athletic and flew to Senegal, considering the injury to be minor. He flew out for 5 weeks.
Somewhere there is also an addiction to video games, which did not help the regime.
Dembele got Barça: he is constantly late, cut into games and scores in training
• But the coaches are not saints either. Dembele said that he was often released unprepared: “I had difficult periods, injuries, I had a coronavirus.The coach asked me to play even if I didn’t have a single practice and I always agreed. It’s always been that way, because that’s my passion. I fully understand how lucky I am to have the best job in the world.”
• Ernesto Valverde in March 2019 confirmed Usman’s words:
“Dembele felt uncomfortable before the game against Lyon, but I decided to take a chance because it was an important match. I released Dembele based on the scoreboard, although now we have lost him for 3-4 weeks.”
• In November 2021, he came on as a substitute in the match against Dynamo Kyiv – he injured the back of his thigh and was out for a month. According to Diario Sport, the doctors recommended either not to let Dembele on the field at all, or to let him play no more than 15 minutes. However, acting coach Sergi Barjuan released the Frenchman 25 minutes before the end – also because of the scoreboard (0:0).
But still, the number of injuries decreased. In February 2020, Dembele underwent surgery on his left hip, in the summer of 2021 on his right (the injury happened in Kyiv during recovery). He was operated on by some of the best specialists in the field of sports injury. Barca has been cooperating with this Finnish clinic for a long time and advises friends.
This season sees a recovered Usman playing almost 70% of the time. He could have done more, but Xavi regularly replaces the Frenchman in the middle of the second half so as not to overload.
In the summer, Dembele signed a new contract: 12 million instead of 20. The Athletic wrote that this is Xavi’s merit: the coach constantly talked to the player, asked to stay and gave an important role on the field – the Frenchman fell in love with Xavi and fully shares his ambitions. Compare this with the attitude of previous coaches.
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