Dortmund, Oct 4 (IANS) Former Borussia Dortmund translator Massimo Mariotti said that Ousmane Dembele, who used to play for the Bundesliga giants till 2017 before infamously disappearing to force a move to Barcelona, had lit up the German league with his pace and technique and it was only a matter of time before a club the size of Barcelona came calling.
Mariotti was responsible for helping Dembele settle in Germany. “Everyone came to me and asked where he was,” Mariotti was quoted as saying by Goal.
“But I didn’t know either. I tried to reach him and his cousin, but that was in vain. They were both unavailable for three days. Somehow I had guessed at the time that he was no longer in Dortmund at all, so I went to his house and found out that he had gone to France with his mother in the morning.
“Ousmane was really gone overnight and I was the only one who had contact with him later. I told him that he should come back, so that we could talk about things and he could understand BVB, that he must behave professionally. But it was already too late for that,” Mariotti said.
Barcelona signed Dembele in the 2017 summer transfer window for a reported 105 million euros which made him the then joint second-most expensive player ever. He has, however, struggled to emulate his performances at Barcelona with injuries hampering his progress.
Mariotti, however, said that rumours of Dembele leaving his apartment in Dortmund in a mess on the day he left, leading to the landlord filing a lawsuit against the 22-year-old was not true.
“His adviser had asked me to drive to his house and take pictures. I did that after he moved and I photographed everything there. I collected the keys and took them to the owner in Rheda-Wiedenbruck. I did not see any garbage there. He left the house in top condition and never missed his rent. He even got his deposit back,” Mariotti said.