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Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele ignoring 'unfounded criticism' - agent

After Barcelona's home defeat to Real Betis, the FC crew examine the club's issues in the back, and Gab Marcotti questions their preparation.

Ousmane Dembele will not question his future at Barcelona despite "unfounded" criticism of his lifestyle, according to his agent.

Dembele has been questioned amid reports the France international has regularly arrived late for team meetings and games with his club. The 21-year-old was left out of Sunday's defeat to Real Betis having missed training on Thursday with a stomach bug, which was only confirmed by Barca doctors after the club had spent 90 minutes trying to locate him.

France coach Didier Deschamps warned Dembele, who is in the World Cup winners' squad for internationals against Netherlands and Uruguay, he needs to be more professional, while Barcelona teammate Gerard Pique said the squad is "all here to help him."

Dembele's agent, Moussa Sissoko, said his client will listen to criticism as long as it is constructive.

"Ousmane's not reacting too badly," he told RMC. "He knows how to shut out that criticism, especially when it's unfounded. Having said that, he knows how to use it when it's not, to react in the best way possible on and off the pitch."

"Ousmane is [21], plays for Barcelona, one of the biggest clubs in the world. He's had a super start to the season scoring six goals and two assists. I don't understand all the criticism right now. We're aware there are things to improve, that's for sure. He's [21], it's normal. But Ousmane is very calm, he keeps working."

Sissoko said Dembele had told his club about his stomach bug "a little late" and denied reports he had been late for a team meeting before the Champions League game against Inter Milan.

He also said there is no question of Dembele, who has been linked to a number of Premier League clubs, considering his future after signing a five-year contract when he joined from Dortmund in summer 2017.

"Not at all. Ousmane keeps working, he's at a big club, he's in the national team, and Didier Deschamps keeps calling him up," he said. "The national team coach reacts to everything that is said, but I'm certain he likes Ousmane a lot, otherwise he wouldn't pick him.

"He's right on regarding the player's behaviour and their performances, so if Ousmane is with the France team now, it's that he deserves it.

"I also had Eric Abidal on the phone, he's very happy with Ousmane, he told me he's training well. There are really no question to ask ourselves right now."

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