The player received harsh treatment from club supporters amid a contract dispute
Xavi has expressed disappointment that Barcelona fans disrespected Ousmane Dembele by booing him at Camp Nou on Sunday after the manager asked them not to do so.
Dembele was subjected to jeers from the home crowd when the public announcer said his name before a 4-2 win over Atletico Madrid.
Xavi said he meant to play Dembele as a substitute despite his ongoing contract dispute, but Dani Alves’ red card changed his plans.
“I would like them to support Ousmane,” Xavi said. “I’d ask them to stop booing him.
“The idea was for him to come on, but I decided on other things because of the red card and the way the game went.”
What has happened with Dembele’s contract?
Dembele, in his last year of his current deal, has not put pen to paper on a new contract, meaning he’s set to leave Camp Nou after this season.
The club has been critical of him after negotiations broke down, but Xavi intends to keep him in the squad during the second half of the campaign.
“We did not find a solution with Ousmane, so the circumstances have now changed,” Xavi said earlier in the week. “We have spoken with the president [Joan Laporta] and made the decision [to reintegrate Dembele]. He has a contract, he is part of the squad and we are not going to shoot ourselves in the foot by not using him.
Dembele had been the topic of intense transfer discussion before the January deadline – and a late offer emerged – but no deal came together.