Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller has taken a fresh hit at Barcelona wonderkid Ousmane Dembele after the attacker forced through a move to the Spanish giants last summer.
The 20-year-old’s departure from Dortmund last season in a deal worth €105m, plus add-ons, ended on a sour note after Dembele refused to train with the German outfit in order to push through his move.
His actions proved distasteful in the eyes of the 20-year veteran as he told ESPN: “You just don’t walk out on a club like that.
“It caused incredible turmoil that couldn’t be calmed by anyone. This is a team sport — football is not tennis. He didn’t even collect his boots. That’s ridiculous.”
Dembele’s first, and last, year with Dortmund saw the youngster score eight goals and provide 18 assists, but despite his on-field prowess it was his off-field conduct which resulted in a suspension by the German club and a taint on his reputation.
Despite being involved in football for over two decades, Weidenfeller claimed he had not seen anyone act like Dembele in search of a move.
“Before this, I could not imagine something like this existed,” he added. “Dembele, at the age of 19, was given the opportunity to make a name for himself at Dortmund.
“It was here that he turned himself into a player Barcelona wanted to buy – but rather than being thankful he decides to leave the club by staying at home, going on strike, abandoning his teammates. That’s just bad style – no manners.”
With Weidenfeller himself set to leave Dortmund following the club’s trip to America after hanging up his boots, the 37-year-old admitted he could understand a young player’s desire to move once approached by a ‘big club’.
He added: “It’s OK. But if you make that decision [to leave], there are other options. You try to find a solution which works for all sides.”
Despite throwing his toys out of the pram to force through a move to Camp Nou, Dembele has struggled to cement his place in Barcelona’s star-studded lineup following a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury.
With just 21 appearances to his name this season, reports have surfaced linking the 20-year-old with a loan move, potentially to Liverpool as manager Jurgen Klopp is said to be ‘obsessed’ with the attacker.