Barcelona need to “have words” with Ousmane Dembele, says Rivaldo, with the World Cup winner having talked his way into a “silly sending off” which has ruled him out of their upcoming Clasico clash with Real Madrid.
Former Barca star Rivaldo considers such petulant behaviour to be uncalled for, with Dembele having offered the reigning Spanish champions a selection decision that they could well do without.
“Ousmane Dembele is in trouble again after saying rude words to the referee and getting sent off in Barcelona's 4-0 win over Sevilla. He received a two-game suspension which means he'll miss 'El Clasico' against Real Madrid on October 26,” Rivaldo told Betfair.
“Barcelona need to have words of their own with the player about this silly sending off. It's not acceptable and it could harm the team, with his absence creating difficulties for his team-mates.
“It's important for the club to have an internal procedure to sanction players in these kind of foolish situations, in which you have inappropriate talking to a referee or manager. It makes sense to punish him in some way to avoid new situations in the future.
“I'm not referring to Dembele only, but to any player that might commit a similar action. A player needs to be smart, be aware that there are more matches to play after that, and don't let his team-mates, manager and club in a tough situation.”
Dembele’s absence will free up a space in Ernesto Valverde’s plans for somebody else.
It remains to be seen who he turns to, with their plenty of quality at his disposal.
Among those currently being frustrated by a lack of game time is Ivan Rakitic, with the Croatia international midfielder making just six appearances and one La Liga start this season.
The 31-year-old has every reason to feel disappointed, having shunned reported interest to remain at Camp Nou, but Rivaldo believes he still has an important role to play in 2019-20.
The Brazilian added: “Despite playing less time than usual recently, and even having called Ernesto Valverde's attention to it, Ivan Rakitic is still a very important player for Barca.
“When you're not in the starting 11, and the team is playing well and winning, it becomes tougher for the manager to change the team and you end up spending more time than expected in the bench. That's the only reason Rakitic is missing out at the moment.
"He is still a good player and his experience should ensure him more time on the pitch soon.”