Ousmane Dembele joined Barcelona training on Tuesday as he closes in on making his long-awaited return from injury.
The team were back at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper to begin their preparations for their Champions League last-16 second leg tie against Napoli on August 8 at the Camp Nou.
📍 Ciutat Esportiva
💪 Retorn a la feina
👥 O. Dembélé, Lenglet i Griezmann fan treball específic sobre la gespa pic.twitter.com/Kbyryf413Z
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona_cat) July 28, 2020
Dembele was back with the group for the first time since suffering a torn hamstring back in February that required surgery and saw him ruled out for six months.
The Frenchman did “specific work” along with compatriots Antoine Griezmann and Clement Lenglet who are also on the way back from injury.
News of the trio taking part in the session will be a big boost for Quique Setien’s side ahead of their crucial Champions League clash against the Serie A team. The Champions League now represents Barcelona’s only chance of winning silverware this season.
Follow the Heavy on Barcelona Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Dembele To Make Late Impact?
Dembele has barely featured this season after another injury-ravaged campaign. The 23-year-old has only made nine appearances in all competitions, and his season appeared to be over after he was ruled out again in February.
Yet the suspension of the Champions League due to Covid-19 means that Dembele could yet play a role in the competition for Barcelona. The team play Napoli in just under two weeks, and if they progress will meet Bayern Munich or Chelsea in the quarter-finals on August 18 or 19.
Barcelona’s first-team were back on Tuesday after being given some days off following the culmination of the league season, however, Dembele has been working hard at the training ground on his own in the meantime.
It still remains to be seen if Dembele will be fit in time to face Napoli, but his appearance on Tuesday certainly suggests he could be in contention for some sort of role providing he does not suffer any more setbacks.
Barcelona’s Options for Napoli
Setien should not lack for attacking options if Dembele and Griezmann both return from injury in time to face Napoli. The coach also has Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, and Ansu Fati at his disposal. Martin Braithwaite will not be able to feature as he was not registered in time.
According to Xavier Munoz at Mundo Deportivo, Setien is keen to have Dembele available for the Champions League and thinks he may prove vital to the club’s hopes of success in Europe’s top competition.
While there are still question marks over Dembele’s fitness there’s no doubting the French youngster’s talent. His dribbling ability, two-footedness, and electric speed are huge assets to Barcelona, but it will be a big ask for the young forward to come in after such a long lay-off and make an instant impact.