Barcelona center-back Gerard Pique has posted an emotional message on Instagram and has admitted that “nothing will ever be the same again” at Barcelona following Lionel Messi’s exit.
The Catalan giants sent shockwaves around the football world on Thursday by announcing the forward’s Camp Nou career was over after 21 trophy-filled years with the club. Messi’s contract expired in June and the club has been unable to agree a new deal due to ongoing financial problems and La Liga’s salary cap.
Pique has spent the majority of his career alongside Messi and has now taken to Instagram with a lengthy tribute to his long-term friend and teammate along with a photograph of the two embracing during a Barcelona game.
“Nothing will ever be the same again. Not the Camp Nou, not the city of Barcelona, not ourselves. After more than 20 years at the Club, you will stop wearing the Barça shirt. The reality, sometimes, is very harsh,” he wrote. “We met in 2000, we were 13 years old and had a career ahead of us. What career! The mother who bore us! If we had designed it at that time, it was impossible to make it better. A f**king madness!”
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Pique Tips Messi To Make Barcelona Return
Pique also wished Messi success for the rest of his career but added that he was confident the Argentina international will one day return to the Camp Nou.
“In my first season, after returning to FC Barcelona, we won the treble and you became the best player of all time. From Rosario to touching the sky of Rome. That’s where the legend began. What came next is history. And what a good time we have!” he added, “Now you are leaving, but I know that one day you will come back. There are pending things to do. Have fun, enjoy wherever you go and keep winning as only you know how to do. Here we will miss you. I love you Leo.”
Messi is expected to join Paris Saint-Germain before the start of the new season. According to reporter Julien Maynard, the French club is optimistic that a deal to bring Messi to the Parc des Princes can be completed quickly.
Busquets & Ansu Fati Pay Tribute to Messi
Midfielder Sergio Busquets has also taken to social media with an emotional message for Messi. The Spain captain admitted he was still getting used to the idea that Argentine would no longer be at the club.
“Still trying to get used to everything and knowing how hard it will be, I can only thank you for what you’ve done for the club and for those we’ve accompanied you over these years, and specifically towards me,” he wrote, “You came as a child and you’re going to be the best player in history, having made this club grow to the height it deserves and making history, individually and collectively. I can always say I played and shared many moments with you, most very good and I was lucky enough to grow up and enjoy by your side for 13 seasons. Beyond all this, I stay with the person and the friendship we made. I will miss you so much. I can only wish the best to you and your family because you deserve it, you will be missed.”
Teenage starlet Ansu Fati also posted a message on Instagram where he revealed how lucky he felt to have had the chance to play alongside the Argentina international, as shown by ESPN.
Fati is one player Barcelona will be hoping can help the club enjoy success in the future following Messi’s departure. The teenager burst onto the scene in sensational style in 2019-20 but a serious knee injury means he has not played since November 2020.