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Barcelona players congratulate Lionel Messi after birth of third son Ciro

13 March 2018

The Frenchman has flattered to deceive on the whole since signing for Barca from Borussia Dortmund for an eye-watering €105 million (RM505 million) last August despite only having under two seasons under his belt as a professional.

Lionel Messi missed the trip to Malaga following the birth of his third child but Barca had no issues, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho seeing off the 10-man hosts.

In particular, Dembele's brilliant turn and pass was bettered only by Coutinho's flicked finish for what was a superb second goal.

Barcelona may be 11 points clear atop the LaLiga table but head coach Ernesto Valverde insisted defending champions and bitter rivals Real Madrid are still in the title race.

Dembele is even said to be willing to leave on loan in order to prove himself, with Chelsea named as a potential destination for the attacker, but both Manchester United and Atletico Madrid are also said to be interested in him if he becomes available.

"Today, things went his way more than in other games but the good thing about him is that he always wants to take on opponents", said Barca coach Valverde.

Midfielder Ivan Rakitic said Dembele had the backing of the squad and that they had never doubted his quality.

"We came to play a hard game and we scored early, with one more we controlled the match more, we left happy with the three points".

Messi was back in training with Barcelona on Monday, as Barca prepare for their crunch Champions League round of 16 clash with Chelsea, taking a 1-1 draw back to Camp Nou on Wednesday. "We're Barca and there's a lot of pressure here, so for that reason there's been a lot of focus on him".

Barcelona players congratulate Lionel Messi after birth of third son Ciro