Ousmane Dembélé with space and Ousmane Dembélé without space, something as different as night and day.
When the Frenchman has space to exploit he transforms into an explosive and destabilizing player that defenders fear going up against, but when rivals organize themselves to prevent giving him room to run, the youngster turns fragile and vulnerable on the attacks. However, that wasn’t the case this Thursday.
Barcelona were able to witness that cold-blooded and lethal side of Dembélé in their 2-1 victory over Napoli. The Frenchman put on his special boots at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, walking onto the pitch with the utmost confidence. Fans knew something was in the air the second he made his way to the field, striking the woodwork just one minute after coming off the bench.
The 22-year-old looked livelier than ever. His strong runs down the left flank, his cheeky and quick dribbles that left defenders unhinged and his long-range shots made everything look way too effortless. Against the Italian team, he showed the club and the fans just how good he can be and that perhaps after two rather disappointing seasons, he is ready to make some serious noise.
The beast has been woken.
Dembélé is back from hibernation, and ready to fight for a starting position. The winger is well aware that his spot is set to be taken by his friend and new signing Antoine Griezmann, but if he can continue down this road with performances like the one in Miami, then there will be much debate in the coming season about Barça’s preferred attacking trident. Let’s just say Ernesto Valverde’s job will get a tad bit more difficult with the beast that has now been unleashed inside Dembélé.