Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele Is 'Like a Little Boy,' Says Kevin-Prince Boateng

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IISeptember 11, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 25: Ousmane Dembele of FC Barcelona looks on prior to  the Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Betis Balompie at Camp Nou on August 25, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele is "like a little boy" who "still doesn't know how it all works," according to former team-mate Kevin-Prince Boateng.

The Fiorentina midfielder spoke to Sport Bild (h/t Goal's James Westwood) about Dembele's mentality and said he needs guidance during his time at the Camp Nou.

"He is very calm, does not talk much. He is still like a child for me. You have to take him as he is and it may be that he's late [to training]. There are players who do that in defiance, but that's different with him, he's just like a little boy. One who earns a lot of money. One who is extremely public.

"You have to point him in the right direction. For me, he's still a little boy who was thrown into this giant pool, suddenly cost €150 million overnight, and still doesn't know how it all works because he just wants to play football."

Boateng spent half of last season on loan at Barcelona after joining from Italian side Sassuolo in the January transfer window. He left the club at the end of the campaign after making just four appearances.

Dembele has failed to live up to his massive price tag since arriving at Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund in August 2017. He has shown flashes of his tremendous potential but his first two seasons at the club have been severely disrupted by injury.

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The France international is currently sidelined with a hamstring problem that is expected to keep him out of action until the end of September:

Dembele has also faced criticism for his off-field behaviour during his time at Barcelona. The Catalan press have reported he has been late for training on more than one occasion, per sports journalist Jonas Giaever:

Goal's Rik Sharma reported there have also been concerns that Dembele spends too much time playing video games at "inopportune hours" and there are worries about his "professionalism regarding his diet."

The forward's former chef, Michael Naya, told Le Parisien (h/t Marca) that the Frenchman "doesn't have his life in his hands" and "there's no structure around him."

Meanwhile, his agent, Moussa Sissoko, was forced to come out and reject speculation Dembele could leave in the summer transfer window:

Much will be expected of Dembele when he returns to action for the Spanish champions. The Frenchman is now in his third season at the club, and there will be pressure on him to stay fit and produce his best form on a consistent basis.