Mousa Dembélé (Belgian footballer)
|Full name||Moussa Sidi Yaya Dembélé|
|Date of birth||16 July 1987|
|Place of birth||Antwerp, Belgium|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11:31, 2 November 2018 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 15:57, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
Mousa Dembélé (born Moussa Sidi Yaya Dembélé; 16 July 1987) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and the Belgium national team, for whom he has achieved 80 caps. He is regarded as one of the best box-to-box midfielders in Europe due to his excellent dribbling skills and ability to maintain possession.
Dembélé started his career at Belgian Pro League team Germinal Beerschot before spells at Eredivisie sides Willem II and AZ in the Netherlands. He won the league title and the Johan Cruyff Shield with the latter in 2009. Dembélé transferred to Premier League side Fulham in 2010 before joining current club Tottenham for a fee of £15 million in August 2012. He was ranked 91st in The Guardian's list of the 100 best current footballers in 2012.
Dembélé uses the spelling "Mousa" for his first name (e.g. on his Twitter account), and so do his club, national team and most news articles about him. However, in a 2016 interview, he said that the proper spelling ought to be "Moussa".
Dembélé played for K. Berchem Sport as a youth. He started his professional career for Germinal Beerschot, a team in the Belgian Pro League. He made his debut on 24 April 2004 against Charleroi. In 2005, he signed for the youth section of Willem II, despite apparent interest from Eredivisie giants AFC Ajax.
Dembélé spent the 2005–06 season in the Eredivisie with Willem II. The team had a very poor season that year, but Dembélé nonetheless scored nine times. After the season, he attracted further interest from the bigger Eredivisie teams and was subsequently transferred to AZ in the summer of 2006.
In 2006–07, Dembélé was one of the most important players of Louis van Gaal's team. They were poised to win the championship but on the last day lost the title to PSV and only finished third after losing 3–2 to Excelsior. AZ also lost the final of the KNVB Beker against AFC Ajax. Dembélé scored after two minutes played, but AZ lost 8–7 after a penalty shootout, with Dembélé scoring AZ's fifth penalty attempt. AZ further lost the play-off final for qualification to the Champions League, again to Ajax. Dembélé scored six times that season.
The season of 2007–08 was a very disappointing season for AZ. They finished 12th, with Dembélé scoring four times for them. The 2008–09 season started disappointingly as well for Dembélé's team after two defeats, but then AZ started to win more games and eventually won the championship. Dembélé was out injured from October until December with a knee injury, but on his return, he was hailed as being one of the players of the season in the Eredivisie.
Dembélé was said to be "edging closer" to join English Premier League club Birmingham City, but on 12 August 2010, Dembélé declined a move to Birmingham in favour of London club Fulham. On 18 August 2010, Fulham announced that Dembélé had joined from AZ on a three-year deal for a fee of £5 million.
Dembélé made an excellent start to his career at Fulham. He made his début on 22 August 2010, coming on as a substitute against Manchester United. He capped his first start for the club with a goal, scoring the second of six goals against Port Vale in the League Cup on 25 August. The same week, Dembélé made his first league start against Blackpool in which he provided two assists. The first of the two was a cross to Bobby Zamora following a good run in the box, while the second gave Fulham a draw and a point; he dodged past a couple of Blackpool players before playing a good ball for an on-rushing Dickson Etuhu to make the score (and final result) 2–2. Dembélé scored two league goals against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 11 September in a 2–1 win, his first league goals for Fulham. He then scored a great solo goal against Tottenham Hotspur, running from the halfway line before powerfully placing his shot beyond goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes. This was voted the Fulham "Goal of the Season" by the Fulham fans.
Under manager Martin Jol, Dembélé played in a more creative position in central midfield, either next to club captain Danny Murphy or new signing Mahamadou Diarra. After some very good performances, Martin Jol confirmed the club had opened contract talks with Dembélé in order to fend off interest from other clubs. Dembélé scored two goals in 2011–12 in his new more central role, the first coming as an 86th-minute goal against Wigan Athletic to seal Fulham's 0–2 win at the DW Stadium in late October. His second came right at the business end of the season against Sunderland; his goal was the winner to make the result 2–1, scoring only 30 seconds after Phil Bardsley had equalized to make it 1–1 at Craven Cottage.
Dembélé transferred to Tottenham Hotspur on 29 August 2012 after Spurs triggered a £15 million release clause in his Fulham contract. He scored on his debut against Norwich City on 1 September in a 1–1 home draw. On 21 February 2013, he scored a 90th-minute goal to help Spurs put Olympique Lyonnais out of the UEFA Europa League and qualify for the last 16 of the competition.
On 6 May 2016, Dembélé, despite not having been booked by the referee, was banned for six games by the Football Association for an eye gouge on Chelsea's Diego Costa. The FA stated that "the standard punishment of three matches which would otherwise apply to this offence was clearly insufficient."
Dembélé however suffered from a recurring injury to his foot that caused him to miss a number of games in the 2016–17 season. He underwent surgery on his ankle in May 2017 but thought that he would never be 100% fit again. In the 2017–18 season, he again injured his ankle in the EFL Cup tie against Barnsley in September. However, he gained plaudits for his performances later in the season as a midfielder.
In the January 2019 transfer window Tottenham agreed a deal to sell Dembélé to Chinese Super League club Beijing Guoan, however there were complications with the deal. Instead Dembélé moved to Guangzhou R&F also of the Chinese Super League for a fee of £11 million.
Dembélé made his first international appearance on 20 May 2006 against Slovakia, coming on as a substitute for Luigi Pieroni. He scored his first international goal in October 2006 against Azerbaijan. Dembélé participated in the 2008 Summer Olympics, where he put on a remarkable show, being instrumental in Belgium's 3–2 win to Italy in the quarter-finals, scoring two goals, including the defining goal of the match. Belgium then progressed, losing to Nigeria in the semi-finals and Brazil in the third place play-offs. Dembélé played in all six of Belgium's games at the Olympics.
On 13 May 2014, Dembélé was named in Belgium's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He played 65 minutes in midfield before being substituted with Marouane Fellaini in the team's first game of the tournament, a 2–1 win against Algeria in Belo Horizonte.
Style of play
Having begun as a winger and played in that role until 2011, Dembélé primarily plays as a central midfielder; he can, however, also operate as an attacking midfielder. He has been described as a footballer who is "big, powerful, technically gifted" and who has excellent "dribbling and passing abilities." His manager at Fulham, Martin Jol, said "Dembélé is probably the best player on the ball I've ever seen." Former midfielder Jermaine Jenas, a teammate of Dembélé's at Tottenham, praised his "passing ability", remarking that the Belgian is "very good technically", while also comparing him to a vacuum cleaner insofar as he "sucks in all the pressure and then releases the ball at the perfect time. If you try to get tight to him, he is strong enough to hold you off and has the ability to look at you and go past you in the blink of an eye. If you drop off him, he is happy too. He can sit deep in front of the back four and dictate the tempo from there".
- As of match played 30 April 2018 
- 2011–12 appearances includes match in Europa League, away to Dnipro on 25 August 2011, which is currently not included on Soccerbase website.
- As of match played 14 July 2018
|Belgium national team|
|1.||11 October 2006||Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, Brussels, Belgium||Azerbaijan||3–0||3–0||Euro 2008 qualifying|
|2.||22 August 2007||King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium||Serbia||1–0||3–2||Euro 2008 qualifying|
|3.||22 August 2007||King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium||Serbia||3–1||3–2||Euro 2008 qualifying|
|4.||17 October 2007||King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium||Armenia||2–0||3–0||Euro 2008 qualifying|
|5.||28 March 2009||Cristal Arena, Genk, Belgium||Bosnia and Herzegovina||1–1||2–4||2010 WCQ|
- "List of players under written contract transferred between 01/08/2012 and 31/08/2012" (PDF). The Football Association. p. 14. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- "2018 FIFA World Cup Russia: List of players: Belgium" (PDF). FIFA. 10 June 2018. p. 3. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
- "Premier League Player Profile Mousa Dembélé". Premier League. Barclays Premier League. 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
- Long, Sam (9 May 2016). "Tottenham have lost the 'best box-to-box midfielder in Europe' with Mousa Dembele ban, stats show". London Evening Standard.
- "Why Tottenham's Mousa Dembele is a genius to Mauricio Pochettino". Sky Sports. 6 November 2016.
- Hytner, David (6 November 2016). "Mousa Dembélé the unsung Tottenham hero at the heart of Pochettino's plans". The Guardian.
- "The world's best footballers: the top 100 list". The Guardian. 24 December 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- Ivan Speck (8 April 2011). "Moussa Dembele: A new hero is in town – and the ball is his friend". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
- Ian Chadband (7 May 2013). "Granny knows best as Mousa Dembélé prepares for Tottenham's final push for Champions League stardom". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
- "RAF WILLEMS: DE GROOTMOEDER VAN MOUSSA DEMBELE, RODE DUIVEL MET AFRIKAANSE ROOTS EN ORANJE VOETBALPLEZIER". wordpress.com (in Dutch). 25 August 2008. Retrieved 25 August 2008.
- "Belgium's Mousa Dembele rocked by Brussels attacks". ESPN. 25 March 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
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- "Royal Belgian Football Association". Royal Belgian Football Association.
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- "IM Scouting Profile". IM Scouting. Archived from the original on 27 May 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- "Birmingham City: Latest news on Mauro Camoranesi and Moussa Dembele". Birmingham Mail. 14 December 2013.
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- "Goal of the Season". Fulham FC. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- "Fulham 2–5 Liverpool". Fulham FC. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- Mokbel, Sami (15 March 2012). "Dembele starts talks with Fulham over new deal as Jol looks to head off Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
- "Wigan 0–2 Fulham". BBC. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
- "Fulham 2–1 Sunderland". BBC. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- "DEMBELE DEAL AGREED". Tottenham Hotspur F.C. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- "Spurs land Dembele as Villas-Boas kicks off late spending spree with £15m swoop on Fulham". Daily Mail. London. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
- "Tottenham 1–1 Norwich". BBC Sport. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- "Lyon 1–1 Tottenham". BBC Sport. 21 February 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
- "Tottenham's Mousa Dembele hit with six-game ban for eye gouge on Diego Costa". The Daily Telegraph.
- "Tottenham injury news: Mousa Dembele out of Hull clash". Talk Sport. 13 December 2016.
- Austin, Jack (7 November 2016). "Mauricio Pochettino describes Mousa Dembele as a footballing 'genius' after north London derby display". The Independent.
- Howard, Wayne (10 July 2017). "Dembele back in training after surgery". This is Futbol.
- Giacomelli, Marco (24 July 2017). "Mousa Dembele says he will never be 100 per cent fit – but will play through the pain for Tottenham". Evening Standard.
- Dutton, Tom (23 September 2017). "Tottenham's Mousa Dembele ruled out of West Ham clash with ankle ankle". Evening Standard.
- Ronay, Barney (10 February 2018). "Mousa Dembélé is fast becoming the ultimate midfield controller". The Guardian.
- Dean, Sam; Tweedale, Alistair (23 February 2018). "How Mousa Dembele became the Premier League's most complete midfielder". The Daily Telegraph.
- Hytner, David (8 November 2018). "Tottenham's Mousa Dembélé sidelined until January with ankle injury". The Guardian.
- Simon Stone (14 January 2019). "Mousa Dembele: Tottenham midfielder nears £11m move to Guangzhou R&F after Beijing Guoan deal breaks down". BBC Sport. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
- "FIFA Tournaments – Players & Coaches – Moussa DEMBELE". FIFA.
- "Adnan Januzaj included in Belgium's World Cup squad". BBC Sport. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- Chowdhury, Saj (17 June 2014). "Belgium 2–1 Algeria". BBC Sport. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- Jenas, Jermaine (21 February 2018). "Mousa Dembele? He's like a vacuum, he sucks people in – Jermaine Jenas analysis". BBC Sport. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
- "Dembele backs AVB plan to play strong side in Europe, insisting Spurs can cope". Daily Mail. London. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- White, Jim (29 August 2012). "Sir Alex Ferguson hesitates and sees Tottenham swoop for Moussa Dembele, the latest Belgian to impress in England". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- "'Dembele is exactly what Manchester United need' – Goal.com debates the last week of the Premier League transfer window". goal.com. 27 August 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
- "Jol: Dembele is the best player on the ball I've ever seen". London 24. 18 September 2012. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- Xavier, Stefan D (3 March 2016). "Interview with Mousa Dembélé". Embassy of Belgium in United Kingdom. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- Mousa Dembélé at Soccerbase
- "Mousa Dembélé". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
- "Moussa Dembélé". eu-football.info. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
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