Barcelona's plan to get Dembele back on track

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The club have assigned their summer signing his own special chef, while Samuel Umtiti is helping him in the dressing room and Leo Messi on the pitch

The time has come to see Ousmane Dembele's best version. That, at least, is the intention of Barcelona after helping their forward back from four months on the sidelines earlier this season and then another four weeks after his initial injury flared up again.

Against Girona on Saturday, the 20-year-old played his first full 90 minutes of the campaign and on Thursday away to Las Palmas, he could start back-to-back games for Barca for the first time since signing from Borussia Dortmund in an initial €105 million deal last summer.

And after a disappointing start for their big signing, who was brought in last August after Neymar left the club, the Blaugrana are now doing everything they can to ensure everyone will soon see the player at his best.

Dembele arrived without undergoing a proper pre-season at Dortmund as he went on strike to push through his dream move to Barca. So the club developed a special plan for him to build up muscle strength and resistance, just as they did when Neymar joined in 2013.

Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi have also followed such plans in the past and the idea with Dembele was to devise a routine that would not compromise his turn of pace or his dribbling – two of his very best qualities.

Barca also assigned a chef to Dembele in order for the player to improve his eating habits, something they had done to help a young Messi years earlier, when the Argentine was previously prone to muscle injuries at the beginning of his career.

Dembele also has a chauffeur service and security, allowing him to move freely around the city, while Mundo Deportivo recently revealed that the club's medical staff had travelled to his house to give him treatment during his long spell on the sidelines.

In the dressing room, meanwhile, he has been well received. Ever since his arrival, he has been close to Samuel Umtiti in particular and also Lucas Digne, the two Frenchmen helping him to communicate.

Lionel Messi Ousmane Dembele Barcelona Girona LaLiga 24022018

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Against Girona, though, it was clear that a new era is starting for the 20-year-old. He made more challenges than any of his team-mates, winning eight out of 18, while he was fouled three times (more than anyone else) and won the ball back seven times (also the highest) while completing three out of six crosses.

He even ended up with an assist for Luis Suarez as the Uruguayan completed his hat-trick for the final goal, while Messi sought him out time and again in order to help build his confidence.

The Argentine was the first to congratulate the French forward after that move - perhaps because he knows that Dembele is destined to achieve big things at Camp Nou. And the sooner he settles, the better it will be for the entire team.

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