‘He is like a brother – the best in history left us’: Gerard Pique opens up on the impact Lionel Messi’s shock Barcelona exit has had on him and his Nou Camp team-mates after their rocky start to the season
- Lionel Messi left Barcelona last summer and moved to French giants PSG
- Barcelona were unable to afford the cost of extending Messi’s contract
- Gerard Pique has opened up on the sadness of his departure at the Nou Camp
Gerard Pique has opened up on the void in the Barcelona dressing room following the shock departure last summer of Nou Camp talisman Lionel Messi.
The Argentina icon departed Barca in an emotional goodbye in the summer with the cash-strapped Spaniards unable to afford to extend his contract.
He joined French giants Paris Saint-Germain, where he has reunited with Neymar and formed a strike partnership alongside Kylian Mbappe.
Gerard Pique has opened up on the impact of Lionel Messi’s departure on Barcelona
Messi paid an emotional goodbye to Barca last summer as they couldn’t afford his contract
But for Pique, who came through the club’s La Masia academy to become a Barca hero via a four-year spell at Manchester United, admits that Messi’s presence is hugely missed all around the club.
Speaking to Spanish television show El Homiguero, Pique said: ‘I have shared a dressing room since I was 13 years old, he is almost like a brother, and it was very hard on a sporting and personal level.
‘This year things have not started well in part because the best in history has left us.’
Back at Barcelona, the glory days enjoyed in Messi’s pomp are a distant memory.
Manager Ronald Koeman was sacked in late October and club legend Xavi has replaced him at the helm.
Messi has since joined PSG, where he has joined forces with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar
Earlier this week, Messi won his seventh Ballon d’Or title after his exploits this year
But Barca are seventh in the LaLiga standings, 10 points behind leaders and fierce rivals Real Madrid.
They are next in action on Saturday in the Spanish league, when they host fifth-place Real Betis.
Messi, meanwhile, won his seventh Ballon d’Or this week but mainly for his exploits on the international stage. He won his first trophy with Argentina in July when they won the Copa America.