Ousmane Dembele pushed his luck with the Barcelona board, in general, and the dressing room, in particular, the day he didn't turn up at the training ground. On the Thursday before the Real Betis game he was uncontactable for more than an hour, before the club revealed he had a stomach bug. A stomach bug which, apart from the personal problems, also provided sporting problems. He was left out of Ernesto Valverde's squad against Betis.
On that morning when he didn't turn up, Dembele, with his mobile on silent, was not located by the club until 30 minutes after the training session had begun at 11am. He was supposed to have arrived one hour before the session. Finally contacted by the club via telephone, the French forward said he felt ill, had stomach problems and asked for a member of the medical team to visit.
The visit quickly happened, although the presence of the member of the medical team at his house did not clear up the situation. The person sent by the club quickly arrived at the address. All the blinds were down. He called at the door and one of Dembele's friends answered. One of the few that was awake.
Before seeing Dembele, the medic encountered various youngsters from the player's friendship circle sleeping -- despite the fact it was nearly midday. Dembele spoke to the medic and explained how he was feeling. He had pain in his stomach, but the medic was not able to confirm anything out of the normal. However, he recommended that he remained in bed and rested.
The club were then informed, including coach Ernesto Valverde, and decided how to act on the issue. Barcelona feel Dembele's main problem is his way of living and, above all, the influence many of his lifelong friends from Banlieu, the suburbs where he grew up, have on him. Many of those friends live with him in Barcelona. They spend the day with him and that means his life outside of that cicle is almost zero.
These social problems have set off the alarm bells and the club have let his agents know. Ousmane must change his lifestyle, focus more on Barcelona, on his job and on how to live like a professional. And must leave to one side, if only for a short period of time, his games with his PlayStation friends.