Until yesterday, potentially the biggest failure in the history of football, and after last night's game against Athletic Bilbao and perhaps the best performance of Ousmane Dembele since he arrived in Barcelona in the summer of 2017, the narrative towards the controversial Frenchman seems to be changing.
As a brief reminder, after a long struggle with Barca, which did not want to accept his unrealistic financial demands, he also ignored the ultimatum to find a new environment by the end of January. In fact, he made almost no effort to make it happen, he played the club's trust and was ready to spend the second part of the season on the bench or in the stands.
An unenviable position for both Dembele and the club that paid him 135,000,000 euros four and a half years ago.
Although the French super-talent did not deserve it at all, Xavi appeared to him, as a force that suddenly appears and solves the things.
The legendary player, and who knows, maybe one day the legendary Catalan coach was ready to become a buffer zone between the player and club president Joan Laporta, keen to hand the Frenchman a dismissal to the detriment of the club or at least make him watch the second part of the season from the stands.
Xavi placed himself between two fires, as when two kids fight, and the third separates, aware that often the one with the best intentions pulls out the thickest end. But still, Xavi knows a lot about football and something about interpersonal relationships.
He played with the greatest, he made the greatest with his genius even greater, and he himself belongs to that order. And just as his influence has already begun to be felt in Barcelona's games, which are more and more convincing and more reminiscent of the tika-taka era of Pep Guardiola, so he managed to start, revive Dembele and intensify stories of great turnaround and extension of cooperation.
Dembele is still far away, but he is not unattainable and if the club forgives him for thinking that he is bigger than Barça and goes to meet him, and Dembele does the same and accepts what the club can offer him, then we will only get confirmation of Xavi's genius and the ability to repair the irreparable.
It is obvious that the Spanish expert feels the offensive player who has played 132 games since coming to the club and missed as many as 102 games due to injuries.
Xavi and Ousmane Dembele
Spanish media close to Barcelona write that Dembele received treatment from Xavi that he did not have in four and a half years at Cam Nou.
The head of the professional staff closely and carefully monitors his needs, the reports of the medical team, and, in accordance with that, doses his minutes and adjusts the conditions so that the injuries become a thing of the past.
He so seriously encouraged Dembele to want to stay at the club. Just three weeks ago, fans booed at the 24-year-old winger before the Derby with Atletico Madrid, in which Barça celebrated convincingly, and even after the big victory, Xavi focused on protection and told fans not to whistle at him and again risked undermining his position.
However, after Atletico (he sat on the bench) and the 18th minute on the field against Espanyol without an effect, came to the assist against Valencia, and then one of the two best games since arriving at the biggest stadium in Spain.
In May 2018, he scored two goals for Villarreal and recorded one assist, and last night, with a great diagonal goal, he paved the way for Barça to win over Athletic Bilbao, which he certified with two masterful assists at the end of the match.
He spent some 25 minutes on the field, and that was enough for him to show an edition that would intimidate any defense in the League of Five.