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Barcelona winger Dembele talks France recall, Xavi confidence and growing up


 Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele is proud to be back with the France squad.

Dembele returned to the Les Bleus this week after over a year's absence.

He told RMC: "It makes me happy. Last season I worked hard to get back to the national team but I wasn't called up. It doesn't matter, I worked hard to be back on the list."

"There have been many changes with Barcelona. The arrival of a new coach (Xavi), even if with Ronald Koeman it went well, something started with him and I felt important again.

"Luckily I didn't have any injury; fingers crossed, I feel good in Barcelona and I have the confidence of the whole team, of the whole club. I'm happy."

He continued: "Having a manager who trusts you is very important for a top player. I remember having Rolland Courbis' confidence at Rennes and I blossomed. Thomas Tuchel did the same thing in Dortmund and now it's happening with Xavi at Barcelona. The most important thing is to have a coach who gives you confidence.

"From 2017 to 2021 I lost a lot of time, mainly due to injuries. In Barcelona they told me to work harder, to strengthen myself. 'If you don't work you risk getting hurt ...'.

"I was young, like everyone else. We could have gone out but not so much, not as you imagine. Then I grew up, I gained some experience."

On signing his new contract over the summer, Dembele concluded: "Winning the Champions League with Barcelona, I want to bring the trophy back to the club. It's been seven years now since I won it for the last time. I stayed for this too: I have Xavi's confidence, I'm fine in the locker room, with all these young people.

"I have been at Barca for six years, I wanted to stay and I always told Xavi. Then there are the negotiations, but I never thought about leaving the club. I remember a meeting with Xavi in December, in which I told him that I would sign the contract.

"I always said I wanted to stay in Barcelona."

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