Stoichkov slams Dembele for the Barcelona contract saga
If we’re speaking of Barcelona nowadays, Dembele would be by far the most controversial player you could think of right now. To say the Frenchman’s attitude towards the club since he was brought in from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 has been deplorable would be putting it mildly. He was brought on Camp Nou the year Neymar left for the same Paris the Brazilian trashed months prior, but was far from a fitting replacement for otherwise a player of the last world class attacking trio, the MSN. In almost 5 years spent in Catalonia, he was almost always injured, benched or late for training since he overslept, probably from too much partying the nights before. That’s just his discipline problems, we’re not even getting into his stats, which are beyond mediocre. He has 18 goals in La Liga in 5 years; in comparison, in one year at Rennes (where he played from 2015 to 2016 before being signed by Dortmund) he had 12 league goals. Basically he only succeeded scoring 8 more goals than he did in one f***ing year at Rennes…and it’s not only because he almost never was in the starting eleven. Still, Barcelona’s management thought maybe it would be wise to give him time, maybe in a few years he would become the leader the Catalonians need, and still offered the Frenchmen a contract extension. No other club would ever offer such a player a contract extension after 4 and a half years of basically making a mockery out of the situation. Barcelona did.
Yet how did Dembele react? He demanded a salary of 45 million euros a year with 20 million as signing bonus. A sum of money he would totally not deserve, not to mention demanded from a club that still has huge financial problems and was forced to cut the wages of veterans to be able to register their new signings. All rounds of negotiations between the Catalonians and Dembele’s agent ended up in failure, and, of course, there was the rumor of a possible transfer of the Frenchman to Juventus in the summer after his Barcelona contract expires. Not that I can see him fitting in Juventus, but apparently there has been a reported interest. You would think that’s the end of this whole saga, but no. Dembele doesn’t actually want to leave Barcelona. In fact, he’s waiting for the management of the Catalan club to make him an offer that suits a world class player like him, his financial needs are top priority. Of course, he left it all upon his agent, Moussa Sissoko, to call a new round of negotiations. Thing is, the Catalans seem to have lost their patience and would no longer be interested in keeping the Frenchman. Which is exactly the right decision to take in a situation like that.
Obviously, the situation pissed the hell of the fans, but some of the former emblematic players of the club have also spoken on it. Among them, perhaps the most hardcore reaction came from Hristo Stoichkov, 1994 Golden Ball winner, a player who wrote history in the Blaugrana shirt between 1990-95 and 1996-98.
“I came here as a foreigner to find out what Barcelona was like in the time of Kubala, Carrasco, Lineker, Bakero or Salinas. I found out the history, but you never understood what Barcelona is. In four and a half years, Dembele never understood what the team was all about. You have 20 full games on your feet, in my time you would have cleaned my shoes. If you don’t want to be in Barcelona, at least don’t stain the emblem, leave your shirt and say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I’m leaving’. Thank you for tricking people who know football into believing you can play”, said the Bulgarian.