Moussa Dembele: “My first club didn’t even want me”

Moussa Dembele

The Celtic striker tells FourFourTwo all about his intriguing journey so far, from boyhood rejection through to Craven Cottage and more

Moussa Dembele is only 21, but he’s already experienced football in three countries and could be on the move again this summer if reports are to be believed.

Long before he was bothering goalkeepers in the Scottish Premiership and Europe with Celtic, though, the young Frenchman was trying to get a kick with local club US Clergy Clos – which wasn’t as simple as it sounds.

Dembele has scored 32 goals in 48 appearances for Celtic since joining from Fulham last summer, but a decade-and-a-half ago he was being turned down at the door by Clergy.

My brother insisted: ‘Just give him one training session'

“[They are] my hometown team, and it was good to play for them,” Dembele told FourFourTwo. “But first, when me and my brother tried to join, they didn’t want me.

“They said they had too many players to take care of. But my brother insisted: ‘Just give him one training session.’ So they did – I was five or six at the time – and after that I played for them. I was there for two years.”

One, two, three

They were glad they did: after those two years Dembele was taken on by PSG, where he remained for eight years before joining Fulham, aged 16, in 2012.  

Dembele spent four seasons at Craven Cottage and eventually became a regular in his final campaign in west London, when he netted 15 goals in 43 Championship games. That was when Celtic made their move – and, one year on, the France U21 international is more confident than ever.

Dembele helped Celtic to an historic treble last season, lifting the Scottish Premiership, Scottish Cup and League Cup trophies. Now he’s setting his sights even higher, he tells FFT

Moussa Dembele

“It was a great season for me last year; I was top scorer in a team with very good players,” said Dembele. “I started to play Champions League [football] and have seen what I have to do to be up there and compete with the best.

“The move to Celtic for me has been great. There are many more good seasons to come.

“I want to be one of the best strikers in the world. I don’t want to be one striker who’s compared with another. I just want to be me, make a name for myself and be the best. Simple.”

But success doesn’t come without sacrifice, as Dembele discusses in his story. Press play in the video above to hear more about the Frenchman’s time at PSG, his difficulty in moving to Fulham and more.

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