Xavi Hernandez has admitted he took a risk with Ousmane Dembélé on Tuesday night.
Dembélé has had injury issues throughout this season so far, the winger missing the first four months of the season.
He then returned with an appearance off the bench during Barca‘s last Champions League outing, only to suffer a setback that ruled him out for another three weeks.
Barca ideally needed to win on Tuesday night as they faced Benfica, and in need of a goal, Xavi decided to risk Dembélé again, the winger still not fully fit.
The substitution was an inspired one, Dembélé putting in an excellent performance, though Barca still couldn’t find their goal, and they now head to Munich likely needing to win in their final game.
Revealing the risk behind the Dembélé decision, Xavi said in his post-match press conference: “He has changed the dynamic of the game. He has generated chances. He made the difference.
“The shame is that a goal hasn’t come from his cross, shots.
“I have spoken with him, he is very happy here. Today he has taken a risk because he is not 100%.
“There was a risk that he could have a setback, and it is surprising. One has to speak with him and to see if he feels comfortable and happy.”
Speaking about the possibility of Dembélé renewing his Barcelona contract ahead of his deal expiring in the summer, Xavi added: “Let’s see if he renews.
“For me, he is a fundamental piece. If he is on the pitch, things happen. He makes the difference and he creates a lot.”