Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele may be fit enough to feature in the team’s clash with Real Madrid on December 23, according to his doctor.
The Frenchman has been out of action since September with a hamstring injury, and it was initially anticipated he would miss around four months, as noted by BBC Sport. But speaking to Cadena SER (h/t Marca), Sakari Orava, the man overseeing Dembele’s recovery, has provided a positive prognosis.
“His evolution is faster than I expected,” he said. “It’s possible that he can play against Madrid, but I can not fully guarantee it. If he made a major effort there would be a risk of relapse, but everything could be well if he takes it easy.”
Dembele made a big-money move to Barcelona in the summer from Borussia Dortmund and was expected to help fill the void left by Neymar in the final third. However, he was only able to make a couple of starts before he picked up the problem against Getafe.
The injury was a blow for Barca, as Dembele was a player many supporters were excited to see in action early in the campaign. As noted by the Bundesliga’s Alex Chaffer, the youngster was sensational for Dortmund last term:
While he’s perhaps not at the level of Neymar yet, Dembele is stylistically similar in a lot of aspects of his game.
The Frenchman carries the ball at incredible speed, with remarkable close control, and when he does get into the final third he makes the right choices. Given he’s still just 20 years old, Barcelona fans will be excited about what he can offer for years to come.
If he was able to play in the Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu on December 23 it’d be a huge boost to the Blaugrana. But, as things stand, there’s no need for Barcelona to rush back their record signing. As noted by OptaJose, the team are performing well under manager Ernesto Valverde:
It’s a start that’s left Real Madrid behind, as Los Blancos trail Barcelona by eight points already. The Catalan club’s nearest challengers at this point are surprise package Valencia, who have enjoyed an incredible beginning to the season and sit four behind in second spot.
While the attacking spark still isn’t quite there for the Blaugrana, they’re organised, clinical and have an in-form Lionel Messi. With that in mind, it still feels as though there’s more to come from this crop of players.
Valverde will be hoping that when Dembele does make his return he will give Barcelona another exciting attacking edge, and it’ll be interesting to see how he integrates him into a side that’s performing well. But if they still have a decent cushion to Real come the first Clasico of the campaign, there’s no need to hurry his return.