The Blaugrana legend has spoken regularly of the France international and believes he can become an important figure at Camp Nou
Ousmane Dembele could benefit from Lionel Messi’s departure from Barcelona, Rivaldo says, with the France international still with potential who can see him become a key man at Camp Nou.
The World Cup-winning winger has struggled to live up to expectations following a major transfer from Borussia Dortmund in 2017.
He was caught by Barca with the money raised from Neymar’s record-breaking sale to Paris Saint-Germain, with those in Catalonia buying the potential of emerging talent.
Questions of form, fitness and focus have followed Dembele throughout his time in La Liga, with just 91 appearances in three and a half years.
The 23-year-old has scored 24 goals in those outings, while conquering the world with his country, but more is demanded of an asset of 105million euros (£ 93million / $ 127million).
Rivaldo believes Dembele can play a starring role, with it is possible that a summer departure for Messi – who continues to steer his contract to a free agency – will give members of a star-studded supporting cast the opportunity to come out of the shadows.
“I’ve commented sometimes that Ousmane Dembele is a great player with great skills so he just needs to stop being distracted and focus on football and Barcelona,” said Blaugrana legend Rivaldo. Betfair.
“He played a good game against Sociedad, has the means to make the difference regularly and could even benefit from a possible exit of Lionel Messi this summer to finally confirm his name as a star of the team.
“He’s got brilliant soccer resources, can play with both feet and has a great personality so he just needs to focus and impress everyone.”
Rivaldo also believes that Frenkie de Jong can take on more responsibility at Barca, with the Dutch international midfielder being another of those who needed more time than expected to get back into shape.
The Brazilian added of a Dutch playmaker: “Frenkie de Jong scored Barca’s goal in the Super Cup semi-finals and it looks like he can play better as an attacking midfielder. While Messi is still there, he would probably play a few times in such a position.
“But it’s good news for Ronald Koeman who might be thinking about that option in the future, as De Jong seems to have a good ability to enter the box and score goals.
“He has already proven that he has qualities but has not yet consolidated his performances on a regular basis, so we just have to wait for him to become more consistent and confirm the good signs of this game in the near future.
Barca edged Real Sociedad on penalties in the Super Cup semi-finals and will be looking to get their hands on some major silverware when they face Athletic Club in Seville on Sunday.