Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele Is 'Better Than Neymar,' Says Josep Maria Bartomeu

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 2: Ousmane Dembele of FC Barcelona during the La Liga Santander  match between Real Madrid v FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu on March 2, 2019 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says Ousmane Dembele is better than Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar. 

In an interview with Cadena SER (h/t Sport's Jaume Lobo), Bartomeu was asked about the possibility of Barcelona bringing Neymar back to the club from PSG.

"I won't say yes or no," he said. "I say that with their money, Barca made a sporting bet. With that money we went for players like Dembele and [Philippe] Coutinho. Dembele is better than Neymar. He's at Barca and he is better."

Neymar left Barcelona in a world-record €222 million deal in 2017. That same summer, the club splashed an initial €105 million to prise Dembele away from Dortmund.

After an injury-hampered debut campaign, the Frenchman has established himself as a key player at the Camp Nou and has contributed 13 goals and eight assists this season.

The winger possesses electric pace and is equally adept with both feet, which makes him even trickier for defenders to deal with.

He showed off those qualities with a fine goal against Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Champions League earlier in the campaign:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

It's a nightmare start for Spurs... From a free-kick in an attacking area to conceding a goal in seconds 👀 Ousmane Dembele, absolutely ruthless ⚡️ https://t.co/Ka15xNZUQg

Last week, he bagged two assists in Barcelona's 3-0 Copa del Rey win against Real Madrid:

Eleven Sports @ElevenSports_UK

| GOAL! | Barcelona make it 2-0! Dembele's pin-point cross is turned in by Varane 😳 #ElClasico https://t.co/MpeO0EruJh

His performance earned him praise from Ben Hayward of the Evening Standard:

Ben Hayward @bghayward

Ousmane Dembélé also stepped up with two assists on a quieter night for Lionel Messi. Barça are much better when he is in the team, even if he gives the ball away at times. His pace and unpredictability make him so dangerous. #ElClasico #FCBlive #RealMadrid

The 21-year-old is developing into an outstanding player, but he has some way to go before he can be compared with Neymar.

To start, the Brazilian's output is much higher. In 23 matches this season—10 fewer than Dembele—he has bagged 20 goals and 11 assists.

Neymar also has a much longer track record of delivering for club and country. In 2015, he scored seven goals in Champions League knockout matches to help Barcelona win the trophy, while with Brazil he's already their third-highest goalscorer at age 27 after finding the net 60 times for the Selecao.

It's still early days in Dembele's career, though—he's in just his fourth season of first-team football.

He needs to continue refining his game, particularly his decision-making in the final third, as he's often guilty of giving up possession.

The youngster is proving to be a fine addition to the squad in Barcelona, though, and in the long term, he may well prove to have been a strong choice to replace Neymar at the Camp Nou.