Ernesto Valverde had words of praise for Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele after the two players were massive in Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday.

“I’m not entirely sure how Messi scored that goal,” he said.

”But he and Dembele combined really well down the right. Between them you could count on them producing a shot on goal from almost any situation.

“We had problems in the first 20 minutes.

”There are certain moments in which you have to know how to suffer. They were encouraged and it was a difficult match, but we secured first in the group. We’re happy.”

This last week was incredibly positive for Dembele given the recent transfer rumors. The youngster played well in the weekend match with Atletico Madrid and then showed out in Wednesday’s win.

The high praise from Valverde is massive for Dembele. He’s undergone some tough times of late given the rumors that Valverde was perhaps the catalyst behind the forward potentially leaving the Camp Nou.


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