Arturo Vidal Says Ousmane Dembele Must 'Be Better Prepared to Avoid Injuries'

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 20: Arturo Vidal of FC Barcelona, Ousmane Dembele of FC Barcelona  during the La Liga Santander  match between FC Barcelona v Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou on April 20, 2019 in Barcelona Spain (Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal has said his team-mate Ousmane Dembele needs to "mature" and take better care of his body to avoid injury layoffs.

Dembele arrived at the Camp Nou in the summer of 2017 following the sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain. While he has shown flashes of incredible talent, the Frenchman has been unable to build any momentum due a number of injury issues and subsequent inconsistency in his play.

Speaking to L'Equipe (h/t Jorge Garcia Natural of Marca), Vidal said Dembele needs to begin focusing more on football to make the next step in his career:

"I speak with [Dembele] a lot as he's a good guy, he wants to become the best. He arrived at Barcelona at 20 years old without much experience.

"He has to be conscious of what he really wants in life. He has to know where he is playing and with whom he is playing. Personally, I think he will evolve. Ousmane is a footballer with crazy talent. When he reaches maturity, he will be an important player for Barcelona and France. But of course, he has to mature.

"[Dembele needs to] listen to his body and be better prepared to avoid injuries. If you want to be the best, you need to get up, eat and go to bed thinking about football. I think Ousmane will realise at some point that he has to do more."

According to Transfermarkt, Dembele has had seven different injury problems as a Barcelona player. The most recent saw him miss three games at the end of September.

The winger's campaign was further disrupted in Barcelona's recent 4-0 win over Sevilla, as he was given a straight red card after an exchange with the referee:

Earlier in the match, Dembele showed what he is capable of, as he was able to put Barcelona 3-0 in front with a fine goal:

The winger is a constant source of discussion. While nobody doubts his talent on the field, getting him to produce regularly has been a challenge due to his fitness woes.

That has led to questions about his lifestyle away from the field. Last December, it was reported Dembele was two hours late for a training session, prompting the Blaugrana to send security to his home to find him.

Spanish football writer Andy West said Dembele has the perfect example to learn from in Lionel Messi:

Dembele will miss Barcelona's next two games as a result of the red card he picked up against Sevilla, adding to what has already been a frustrating term for him.

In the summer, the Frenchman was linked with a move away from the Blaugrana, with reports suggesting Barcelona were ready to include him in a deal that'd see Neymar rejoin the club from PSG. If Dembele doesn't heed the advice of Vidal, you sense few would lament his departure at the Camp Nou if he left next summer.

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