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Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele, who has not played since November, has suffered a serious hamstring tear on his return to training.

The France international, 22, pulled out of training on Monday.

The club said tests have revealed “a complete proximal hamstring tear in his right thigh”.

Dembele was making his comeback from a muscle injury in his right thigh sustained against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on 27 November.

Barcelona added they would shortly decide “on the treatment to be followed for his recovery”.

Dembele has suffered several injuries in both legs since joining Barcelona from Dortmund in 2017.

He has played only three full games for the La Liga champions this season and has missed 63 games in all competitions at Barcelona due to injury.

France team-mate Kylian Mbappe posted a message for Dembele on Twitter, saying: “My brother, I know for you it must be a lot and that it becomes unbearable, but you must remain strong despite everything.

“Of course it is easier said than done but I will always be there to support you and I know you will come back to amaze us.”

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Spanish champions Barcelona have been granted special permission by La Liga to make an emergency signing outside of the transfer window.

The decision comes after French forward Ousmane Dembele was ruled out for six months with a serious hamstring injury.

La Liga rules allow clubs to apply to make new signings if a player is ruled out for more than five months.

Those players must be a free agent or already playing in Spain and they can not play in Uefa competition.

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez was ruled out for four months in early January with a knee injury, before Dembele suffered a serious hamstring tear on his return to training in February.

Barcelona submitted a medical report to the Spanish top flight, whose medical commission reviewed Dembele’s injury and subsequently authorised the club’s request.

Dembele has suffered several injuries in both legs since joining Barcelona from Dortmund in 2017 and has played only three full games this season.

Quique Setien’s Barcelona are second in La Liga, one point behind leaders Real Madrid.

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Barcelona have denied hiring a firm to produce disparaging social media posts aimed at its own players such as Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique.

A radio station claim Barcelona wanted to protect the reputation of president Josep Maria Bartomeu and damage the image of those who disagreed with him.

SER Catalunya said the club worked with a company “that creates opinion” on social media accounts to achieve that.

But Barcelona say they “roundly deny any relationship” with the accounts.

“The club demands an immediate rectification of the information published and reserves the right to exercise legal action against those who continue to implicate the club in such practices,” a statement added.

It says through these accounts attacks were made on Messi, Pique, former manager Pep Guardiola, ex-players Xavi and Carles Puyol and some of Bartomeu’s presidential rivals.

The podcast claims Barcelona found the posts “necessary to preserve the reputation of the president and the brand”.

In response, Barcelona say I3 Ventures is a service provider to the club but “has no relationship with the accounts mentioned and, if any relationship were to come to light, the club would immediately end their contractual agreement and bring about any necessary legal action to defend their interests”.

It added: “As such, FC Barcelona confirm it has services contracted relating to the monitoring of social media with the aim of analysing both positive and negative messages about the organisation itself.”

Barcelona says the “protection of this reputation is a fundamental element and responsibility for those who work for the organisation”.

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