Ousmane Dembele says he ‘will not give in to blackmail’ after being told by Barcelona that he will be sold before the end of January.
The 24-year-old’s contract with the La Liga giants expires at the end of the campaign and he has yet to reach an agreement over a new contract.
On Thursday, Barca’s director of football, Mateu Alemany, took the step of declaring that Dembele’s career at Barcelona is effectively over as he will not sign a new deal.
‘It is obvious that the player does not want to continue and is not committed to our future,’ Alemany said.
‘In that scenario, he and his agents have been informed that he should leave immediately because we want players who are committed to our project. Therefore, we hope to transfer him before 31 January.’
But Dembele has fired back at Barcelona’s decision and says he intends to continue playing for the Spaniard club.
‘It’s been four years since I’ve stopped reading things about myself without ever trying to justify myself. Gossip about me has been piling up for four years,’ the winger began in a lengthy statement.
‘For four years people have spoken for me, shamefully lied with a single purpose, the intention of harm me. ‘I have been following my line of never answering for four years, of never justifying myself. Has it been a mistake? Surely.
‘As of today, it’s over. Starting today, I will answer honestly, without giving in to any kind of blackmail. ‘I am 24 years old and like every man, I have flaws, imperfections. I have lived through complex moments, injuries, Covid has affected me.
‘Without the slightest training session, the manager has requested me and I have always complied.…. without grumbling.
‘[I will] perform as well as I have always done because it is my PASSION. ‘I am fully aware of my luck to dedicate myself to the most beautiful job in the world. Also, my message is transparent.
‘I forbid anyone to give the impression that I am not involved in the sports project. I forbid anyone to attribute intentions to me that I have never had. I forbid anyone to speak for me or my representative, whom I trust completely.
‘I’m still under contract, I’m fully involved and at the disposal of my club, my coach, I have always given everything for my colleagues and also for all the partners… it is not now that that is going to change.
‘I am not a man who cheats and even less a man who has the habit of giving in to blackmail.
‘Surely love is a variant of blackmail 99. As you know, there are negotiations. I let my agent handle it, it’s his turf. My field is the ball simply playing football, sharing moments of joy with my teammates and all the members.
‘Above all, let’s focus on the essential: WIN.’