Sissoko: Dembele criticism overblown
Criticism of Ousmane Dembele is exaggerated and based on misinformation, according to his agent Moussa Sissoko.
Dembele was not in the Barcelona squad that lost 4-3 at home to Real Betis on Sunday, with reports surfacing he had breached team rules.
Reportedly, Dembele did not properly inform the club of an illness that made him unable to train, leading to his exclusion from the squad.
"All these criticisms make me laugh. It had already begun with a so-called delay at the meeting before the Champions League match against Inter," Sissoko told RMC Sport.
"I am surprised very serious newspapers can report this information because Ousmane didn't arrive late. His coach has confirmed the fact he was not in the starting XI was not due to a delay."
Sissoko also addressed the conjecture over Dembele's illness, confirming the club's dissatisfaction but also his inability to train.
"It is true that Ousmane was sick (before Betis)," Sissoko said. "He had not slept all night, he was very tired. He missed the morning training and what the club has blamed us for is that he did not provide notification so a doctor can come to assess him.
"He did that late. But he was sick, the club confirmed he had a (gastrointestinal illness), he missed training because of that. I'm surprised we can make controversy when he is sick."
Contrary to criticism over the 21-year-old's attitude, Sissoko pointed towards his recent French national team selection and relationship with Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal as testament to his effort.
"Ousmane continues to work. He is in a big club, he is in the national team and Didier Deschamps continues to call him. He is very much demanding of the players' behavior and their performances, so if Ousmane is today in the French team, he deserves it," he said.
"I also had Eric Abidal (Barcelona sporting director) on the phone and he is very happy with Ousmane, he told me he was training very well. He does not question him at all right now."