Barcelona fans will have to adjust to life after Lionel Messi as season starts with them hosting Real Sociedad at home in Camp Nou on Sunday. (More Football News)
This will be Barcelona's first season without Messi in nearly two decades. The Catalan club’s precarious financial situation meant they were forced to let Messi leave.
Messi signed up with Paris Saint-Germain after being unable to agree to a new contract at Barcelona where he arrived as a 13-year-old. Barcelona's attack on Sunday is expected to be led by Antoine Griezmann and new signing Memphis Depay.
As far as fans are concerned they are looking to adjust and are still excited about the new season. Marc van Cromvoirt had been thrilled to get a ticket to Barcelona's season opener to finally watch his favourite player, Lionel Messi, up close for the first time. “I haven't seen him in person," he said outside Camp Nou, “and still won't unfortunately.”
While Paris Saint-German fans chanted Messi's name upon his ceremonial introduction at Parc des Princes, the Barcelona faithful are still adjusting to the reality that he's gone.
Inside the club's “megastore” at Camp Nou, Messi's No. 10 shirts are still available but they're on a floor rack while the jerseys of current players like Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Ansu Fati hang prominently on wall racks. No, Messi's not on discount. Men's blue-and-scarlet home jerseys for 2021-22 were all priced at 110 euros ($130).
Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman would agree with the sentiment. At his pre-match news conference on Saturday, he acknowledged the fans' pain but urged them not to “live in the past.” (with Inputs from AP)
Match and Telecast Details
Match: Barcelona vs Real Sociedad
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona
Timings: 11:30 PM IST
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