Barcelona players are having to start thinking about life without Lionel Messi following the Argentina international’s shock departure from the club after 21 years.
The Catalans face an almost impossible task replacing the forward but will need to find someone to wear his legendary No. 10 shirt. Messi has worn the famous number since 2008 when he inherited the jersey from Ronaldinho.
Some members of the squad have already decided who should wear the No. 10 next at Barcelona, according to journalist Santi Ovalle. The players would like to see Messi’s close friend and new signing Sergio Aguero take over the number.
Aguero wore the No.10 with distinction at former club Manchester City where he became the club’s all-time leading goalscorer with 184 goals in 275 appearances for the Citizens.
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No Barcelona No.10 For Joan Gamper Trophy
Barcelona’s first post-Messi match comes on Sunday in the traditional Joan Gamper trophy match. This year’s opponents are Turin giants with the game set to take place at the Estadi Johan Cruyff.
The Catalans have issued squad numbers for the match but there will be no No. 10 this time around. New signing Memphis Depay has been handed the No. 9, while Martin Braithwaite gets the No. 12 and Ansu Fati the No. 17.
Sunday’s match is Barcelona’s final pre-season friendly before the start of the 2021-22 La Liga season. Ronald Koeman’s side kick off the new campaign on August 15 at home to Real Sociedad.
Aguero To Miss Season Start?
It will be interesting to see how Koeman lines his team up without Messi. The departure of the Argentine gives players such as Memphis and Antoine Griezmann the incentive to step up and lead the attack next season.
Aguero is also expected to play a major role but could miss the first few weeks of the season after picking up an injury. Barca has confirmed he will miss the Gamper match and offered an update on his condition in a club statement.
The statement read, “Philippe Coutinho has been passed fit to return to action but Clément Lenglet and Sergio Agüero are both out. The French defender has a tendon problem in his right knee and is ruled out with his return depending on his recovery. The Argentine striker has a right calf injury and will undergo more tests to find out the exact extent of the injury.”
The news come amid speculation that Aguero is unhappy at Barcelona following Messi’s exit. However, the striker has spoken out to insist he is happy at the club and is going nowhere. According to Goal he told reporters, “don’t worry, you have me all year long.”
Aguero signed a two-year deal after arriving at Barcelona on a free transfer earlier this summer. The Argentine is one of four new signings made by the club this summer with Eric Garcia, Emerson Royal, and Memphis all arriving to strengthen the squad.