Barcelona’s new signing Ousmane Dembele has rejected comparisons with Brazilian Neymar, despite becoming the second most expensive player in history.
The 20 year-old Dembele, from Borussia Dortmund, who was presented by Barcelona on Monday, insisted he has a lot to learn.
His 105 million-euro ($125 million) transfer from the German club could rise to 145 million with add-ons depending on his performance, as Barca splashed out to fill the gap left by Neymar’s own world record 222 million-euro move to Paris Saint-Germain
“I’m not here to replace Neymar,” said the French wonderkid.
“I will try to make good progress. I am only 20 years old and have a lot to learn. That’s why I came to this big club.”
He was the fifth player to be signed by the Catalan club this ummer after Marlon Santos, Gerard Deulofeu, Nelson Semedo and Paulinho.
And the Catalan giants intend on completing at least one more deal before the transfer window closes on Friday with Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho top of their wish list. Coutinho, 25, hasn’t played for Liverpool since submitting a transfer request to try and force through a move earlier this month.
“My intention is that another player will come, if possible two,” said Barca sporting director Robert Fernandez.
.Dembele is expected to form a fearsome forward line alongside five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez as Barca aim to wrest the Champions League and La Liga titles back from rivals Real Madrid.
And Dembele expects to learn firsthand from Messi, who he described as the best player in history.
“It’s an honour to be a part of Lionel Messi’s team,” added Dembele.
“He’s a great player, the best player in the world, the best in the history of football and I am very happy to play in his team.
“I will learn, watch how he plays, and how he is on and off the field.”
“With a player like Ousmane we have a competitive team that can aim, like every year, for the greatest success,” said Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu, after presenting the player to a crowd of 18,000 Barca supporters.
Bartomeu had earlier been booed by the club’s supporters, who wanted him to resign.
Dembele will have to wait until at least September 9 to make his debut when Barca host Espanyol in a Catalan derby.
Dembele announced himself as one of Europe’s top prospects with a stellar season at Dortmund, scoring 10 goals, after joining from Rennes for just 15 million euros a year ago.