‘Dembele can benefit from Messi exit at Barcelona’ – Rivaldo remains a fan of World Cup winner

Ousmane Dembele, Barcelona 2020-21, La Liga
The Blaugrana legend has talked up the France international on a regular basis and believes he can become an important figure at Camp Nou

Ousmane Dembele could stand to benefit from Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona, says Rivaldo, with the France international still boasting the potential that can see him become a key man at Camp Nou.

The World Cup-winning winger has struggled to live up to expectations on the back of a big-money move from Borussia Dortmund in 2017.

He was snapped up by Barca with the money raised from a record-breaking sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain, with those in Catalunya buying into the potential of an emerging talent.

Questions of form, fitness and focus have followed Dembele around throughout his time in La Liga, with just 91 appearances made in three-and-a-half years.

The 23-year-old has registered 24 goals across those outings, while conquering the world with his country, but more is demanded from a €105 million (£93m/$127m) asset.

Rivaldo believes that Dembele can take on a prominent role, with it possible that a summer departure for Messi – who continues to run his contract down towards free agency – will present members of a star-studded supporting cast with an opportunity to step out of the shadows.

“I already commented sometimes that Ousmane Dembele is an excellent player with great skills, so he simply needs to stop getting distracted and focus on football and Barcelona,” Blaugrana legend Rivaldo told Betfair.

“He played a good match against Sociedad, has the resources to make the difference regularly and could even benefit from a potential Lionel Messi exit this summer to finally firm his name as a star of the team.

“He has brilliant football resources, can play with both feet, and has great personality, so, he just needs to concentrate and impress everybody.”

Frenkie de Jong Barcelona 2020-21

Rivaldo also feels that Frenkie de Jong can take on more responsibility at Barca, with the Netherlands international midfielder another of those to have required longer than expected to play their way into form.

The Brazilian added on a Dutch playmaker: “Frenkie de Jong scored Barca's goal in the Super Cup semi-final and it seems that he can play better as an offensive midfielder. While Messi is still around, he would probably play few times in such position.

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“But this is good news for Ronald Koeman who might think about this option going forward, as De Jong seems to have a good capacity to get in the box and score goals.

“He already proved to have qualities but is yet to solidify 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 match 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 major silverware when they take on Athletic Club in Seville on Sunday.