Nobody could have predicted at the start of the summer that Ousmane Dembele would leave Borussia Dortmund for Barcelona, becoming the second most expensive footballer of all time in the process.
However, Paris Saint-Germain changed everything by signing Neymar for £200 million.
Barça searched high and low for a new No. 11 and eventually settled on Dembele, who has cost the Catalan giants an initial £96.8 million - although that fee could eventually rise to £135.5 million.
Certainly, it was far more money than Barcelona would have valued Dembele to be worth, despite the 20-year-old’s immense talent and potential.
But Borussia Dortmund made sure that if they were to lose the France international, they were going to get every last penny out of Neymar’s former employers.
Dembele: Why I started supporting Barcelona
For Dembele, moving to the Camp Nou was a dream come true.
The exciting young forward, whose Barça contract includes a €400 million release clause, has supported the club since he was eight years old.
Asked how his love for the club began, Dembele told Sport: “I remember two games especially. One against Chelsea, when [Andres] Iniesta scored the goal to qualify for the Champions League final. When I see Andres now I remember it. I can't wait to tell him. And the other was a Champions League game against Arsenal.”
Dembele: The moment I realised Messi wasn't human
Dembele then went on to reveal that it was the match against Arsenal where he realised Messi wasn’t human.
“Barcelona had done well in the first leg but in the second leg they produced a brilliant performance, with four goals from [Lionel] Messi,” the Frenchman added. “That's when I realised Messi's not from this world. It was incredible.“
It was a phenomenal display from Messi, to be fair. Check out the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s highlights from that match here…
Dembele: Messi is the best player in history
Dembele also revealed that Messi was one of two players, along with Andres Iniesta, who stirred his passion for Barça.
“I had a poste of Iniesta,” he added. “He seemed like a different player to me: elegant, special... a genius. I watched all the Barcelona games to see how they played and the geniuses, Iniesta and Messi. After, I tried to imitate them but it was difficult because they do things that no one does.
“Messi always plays at a sublime level. He's the best player in history.”
Just wait until your train with him for the first time, Ousmane.
Based on what many of Messi’s current and former teammates have said over the years, he’s in for a real treat.
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