Barcelona's 'Mosquito' Ousmane Dembele wants to be a leader

The French forward has stepped up his game and left injuries behind

Jordi Carné

For Ousmane Dembele the international break was synonymous with liberation. With confirmation. He’s having his best season since going to Barcelona and for the first time in over two years he was called up by France. The ‘Mosquito’ got a deserved prize for how he has improved and stepped forward in recent months. Leaving behind injuries and controversy, the winger has started to become a decisive player. And that’s how he wants to stay.

Against Valladolid in the first half Barcelona suffered. Playing at the point of the attack, he was no exception. He was uncomfortable and got too many balls with his back to goal. He prefers to run onto them. He worked better after Barcelona changed system and put him wider in the second half. He helped overload the defence.

In the 58th minute he got a ball from Messi and had a cross-shot that Masip saved. Griezmann could not finish the rebound. He was also hacked down by Oscar Plano who was sent off with 10 minutes to go.

Then at the death he won it for Barcelona, volleying home Ronald Araujo’s flick on to seal three crucial points - and potentially a league title.

With 57 touches, 34 passes with 82 per cent accuracy, five shots, 9.5 km run and his goal, Dembele showed he wants La Liga. And above all, he doesn’t want to stop improving and growing to lead the team in the coming years.

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