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Dembele Releases Statement After Barca Exile

After Barcelona announced that Ousmane Dembele needs to leave the club immediately, the French winger issued a long statement in which he addressed the "blackmail" aimed against him.

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The 24-year-old has a contract in Spain until the end of the season, but could be forced out of the club in the January transfer window after the Blaugrana made their stance clear.

Moments after he was dropped from Barca's matchday squad for their Copa del Rey clash against Athletic Bilbao on Thursday, a game Xavi Hernandez's side lost 3-2 in extra-time, sporting director Mateu Alemany revealed that the plan is to sell Dembele this month.

His comments came after reports that negotiations over an extension between the French international and the Catalan giants had fallen through, with the player said to be unwilling to budge on his salary demands.

A day earlier, Xavi said in a pre-match press conference that he was confused by the situation as Dembele told him privately it is his wish to continue at the club, despite his agent's public remarks suggesting otherwise.

In response to Barcelona's decision to boot him to the stands and the apparent "blackmail" he is experiencing, Dembele wrote an open letter in which he touched on a variety of aspects relating to his future.

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"Hello, everyone," it read, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano. 

"It's been four years that I haven't stopped reading things about myself without ever trying to justify myself. Four years where gossip about me has been piling up.

"Four years that people have spoken about me, shamefully lied with one sole purpose, the intention of harming me. Four years I have following the same path of never answering, never justifying myself. Has it been a mistake? Surely. As of today, it's over.

"Starting today, I will answer honestly, without giving in to any kind of blackmail. I am 24 years old and like every man, I have flaws, imperfections. I have lived through difficult moments, injuries, and Covid has affected me.

"Without the slightest training session, the mister has selected me and I have always complied… without question. I've performed as well as I have always done because it is my passion.

"I am fully aware of how lucky I am to dedicate myself to the most beautiful job in the world. Also, my message is transparent.

"I forbid anyone to give the impression that I am not involved in the sporting project. I forbid anyone to attribute intentions to me that I have never had. I forbid anyone to speak for me or my representative, whom I trust completely.

"Still under contract, I am fully involved and at the disposal of my club and my coach. I have always given everything for my colleagues and also for all the fans… that is not going to change now.

"I am not a man who cheats and even less a man who has a habit of giving in to the blackmail. Surely love is a variant of blackmail. As you know, there are negotiations. I let my agent handle it, it's his turf. My domain is the ball, simply playing football, sharing moments of joy with my colleagues and all members. Above all, let's focus on the essentials: win. Take care."

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