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Barça coach Xavi urges fans not to boo Dembele

Xavi Hernandez urged fans not to jeer winger Ousmane Dembele after the France international was greeted with a chorus of boos on his return to the squad in Sunday's LaLiga win over Atleti.

Update:
BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 06: Xavi Hernandez, head coach of FC Barcelona looks on during the LaLiga Santander match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on February 06, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images
Eric AlonsoGetty Images

FC Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez urged fans not to jeer winger Ousmane Dembele after the France international was greeted with a chorus of boos on his return to the squad in Sunday's LaLiga win over Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou.

Barcelona bounced back from a goal down to beat Atletico 4-2 as they clinically saw off the champions by scoring four goals from only four shots on target.

Dembele has not played for Barcelona since Jan. 12 after failing to renew his contract, which is set to expire at the end of the season.

Ousmane Dembele of FC Barcelona looks on during La Liga match, football match played between FC Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou stadium on February 6, 2022, in Barcelona, Spain.  AFP7
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Ousmane Dembele of FC Barcelona looks on during La Liga match, football match played between FC Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou stadium on February 6, 2022, in Barcelona, Spain. AFP7AFP7 vía Europa Press

Barcelona asked him to leave before the January transfer window closed, but the 24-year-old was unable to find another club and will stay at the Catalan club until the end of the campaign. He was an unused substitute in Sunday's match.

"The fans were 10 of 10 and the support was brilliant throughout the game," Xavi told a news conference.

"But I would like them to support Ousmane, too. 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," Xavi said, referring to Dani Alves' sending-off in the 69th minute.

The win moved Barcelona up to fourth place on 38 points from 22 games, leapfrogging Atletico, who are two points adrift in fifth.

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