Lilian Thuram was regarded as one of the most intelligent footballers in the game during his time playing for some of Europe’s top clubs. In his mind, Ousmane Dembele has a decent chance of signing a new contract with his former side.
Thuram was back at the club at the invitation of the Barca Foundation, speaking on social issues. Since retiring, Thuram has taken to activism, speaking out against sexism and racism. At this particular event, he was describing how football can be sued as a tool for social inclusion.
Of course, there was a thirst to get his opinions on the matters of the day too, which included the expiring contract on Ousmane Dembele. Thuram told Sport that he believed an agreement between Barcelona and Dembele was the most likely solution.
“Dembele is a great player and, as a consequence, should play in a great team. Barcelona is just that. The players at Barca have to understand that playing in great team is always an important thing. In the end, that will count for a lot.”
He also believed that Xavi could be a key factor in the decision, stating that “as a player, he was already showing he is very intelligent.”
Thuram was also asked about a former Barcelona player, whom the club were unable to extend. Lionel Messi has not been enjoying himself at Paris Saint-Germain of late.
“It’s incredible that people are booing Messi. Anyone who loves football cannot accept that they are booing Messi, it isn’t normal. You cannot disrespect Leo.”
“Barcelona is his home. It’s very difficult when you want to stay but you are obliged to leave and change teams. In Paris, everything is different.”
Thuram spent two years at Barcelona between 2006 and 2008, coinciding with the early flowering of Messi’s career. He himself was due to sign a deal with PSG after that spell, but was forced to retire after being diagnosed with a heart defect.