Along with Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele is the most reliable forward in the current FC Barcelona squad. His importance to the team can be clearly discerned by the decline in the attacking output of the team since his injury late in January.
Naturally, Xavi will be looking forward to getting his star player back from injury before the decisive matches coming up in Copa del Rey and La Liga. Barcelona play against Real Madrid in the league on 19th March in a game that can ultimately seal the fate of La Liga in favor of Xavi’s team.
This, in addition to the emotional commitment that the two teams show in an El Classico, will pressure Xavi into putting the best team on the pitch in this match. Being one of the star players, FC Barcelona’s best team is not complete without Dembele.
According to the recovery schedule of the Frenchman, he will be available for this Liga Classico and could make an appearance in it. However, playing in a match of such intensity after a lengthy spell on the sidelines could be risky for the Winger, especially considering his recent history with injuries. Thus, Xavi and Dembele would have to carefully assess whether playing Dembele would be in the team’s best interests going forward.
Dembele’s appearance in this match will also affect the pacy winger after the game. SPORT reports that the French National Team is yet to announce its squad for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Netherlands and Ireland.
If Dembele makes an appearance in the Classico, Deschamps would also be justified in calling up Dembele for these two games. Putting him in such high-intensity games right after his recovery would not be the best scenario for Dembele. Thus, the decision to play in El Classico will have significant implications for both Dembele and Barcelona and should be taken with extreme care.