Watch: Dembele scores rocket for Barcelona and celebrates with Xavi

Ousmane Dembele of Barcelona playing against Napoli, Nou Camp, Barcelona. 17 February 2022.

Ousmane Dembele scored a close-range rocket from a tight angle in Barcelona’s clash with Athletic Bilbao in La Liga.

With Barcelona leading 10 following Pierre-Emerick Aubayemag’s first-half goal, Frenkie de Jong played a sweeping first-time ball out to Dembele in the 73rd minute.

The France international was then able to bring down the ball and run into the box before firing an audaciously powerful shot towards goal.

It tickled the inside of the post as it went it, giving goalkeeper Unai Simon no chance at stopping the ball from ending up in the back of the net. So powerful was the effort that it wrapped around the back of the net and came out again.

Dembele celebrated by running over to the Barcelona bench where he was mobbed by players. He made a special effort to go over to Xavi and embrace the manager, who gave him a hug and patted his head.

It was an important moment for Dembele who has been under extreme criticism in recent weeks due to his refusal to sign a new contract at the club.

Many have suggested he should therefore be frozen out of the side, but Xavi has entrusted the winger to still perform despite the difficult circumstances. He has been whistled at by the fans when coming on for the club, but Xavi has continued to defend him.

“I am happy with him because he is a professional,” the manager said after the 4-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao. “I defend him because I don’t say any lies.

“He has made the difference. With many conditions, off the left, the right, with the last pass, he can score.

“We have seen the Dembele we want.”

Late goals from Luuk de Jong and Memphis sealed the win for Barcelona and they now up to fourth in La Liga.

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