Dembele leaves Barcelona boss Xavi furious with PSG transfer - "It hurts me"

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Xavi has made his feelings clear (Image: Omar Vega/Getty Images)
Xavi has made his feelings clear (Image: Omar Vega/Getty Images)

Barcelona boss Xavi has revealed that he's been left "hurt" after winger Ousmane Dembele informed him of his desire to join Paris Saint-Germain.

Dembele, 26, recommitted his future to Barca last summer following a lengthy contract saga, signing a new two-year deal which should've kept him at the club until 2024. But now the France international is planning on returning home to sign for PSG, who are closing in on an agreement worth in excess of his €50million (£43m) release clause which expired on Monday.

On Wednesday, Dembele was an unused substitute during Barcelona's 1-0 friendly victory over AC Milan in Las Vegas, nearly six years after completing a club-record transfer deal from Borussia Dortmund which could've risen to £135.5m. Post-match, Xavi spoke out about the Frenchman's absence and made it abundantly clear that he was furious.

"He says that he has this proposal and that he has decided to leave," the Spaniard declared. "It is his personal decision. I will be very clear. He has been very direct, that he has a proposal from Paris Saint-Germain, that they have called him from there and here we cannot do anything.

"That is why he has not played today. It hurts me because I think we have taken great care of him here so that he is happy and content and continues to make a difference for us."

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With Dembele now set to link up with former Barca manager Luis Enrique in Paris, Xavi added: "Footballers who do not want to be at Barca, they have to be let go. We had a stage prepared for this possible loss and now we have to strengthen ourselves. Ousmane's loss weakens us."

Have your say! Is Ousmane Dembele making the right decision? Join the debate in the comments section.

Dembele leaves Barcelona boss Xavi furious with PSG transfer - "It hurts me"Ousmane Dembele has spent the past six years at Barcelona (Javier Vicencio / Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

It was only on Saturday when Dembele scored in Barcelona's 3-0 triumph over arch rivals Real Madrid in Dallas, picking up where he left off following impressive 2022-23 campaign. While helping France reach the final of the World Cup in Qatar, the 26-year-old scored five goals and registered seven assists in LaLiga as his Xavi's side romped to their first title since 2019.

That was despite spending 17 games out injured in the spring, notably missing the Europa League last-32 play-off clashes with Manchester United. While Dembele's departure will help Barca remedy their disastrous financial situation, Xavi is losing one of his most important players.

The Spanish champions would possess additional funds for signings, however, with Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo linked with a move. Xavi has admitted that Barcelona need to sign a "pure right-back" and City would be open to selling the 29-year-old Portugal international, having loaned him to Bayern Munich for the second half of last season.

Barca midfielder Franck Kessie's exit could also help fund signings, with the Ivorian not featuring in the win against AC Milan like Dembele. "Franck did not play due to some slight discomfort," Xavi explained. "Regarding his future, I can say that he knows exactly what the situation is."

Kessie, 26, has attracted interest from clubs in the Premier League and Italian giants Juventus.

Nathan Ridley

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