Lionel Messi’s departure is sad, but he is the past: Ronald Koeman


Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman insists that Barcelona should move on after the departure of star Lionel Messi.

Speaking ahead of Barcelona’s opening La Liga fixture at home against Real Sociedad on Sunday, the Dutch coach stressed his excitement ahead of new campaign.

“This is painful for all Barca supporters. I understand it because of all that (Lionel) Messi has done for this club and the type of player he is. Again, we are talking about missing him because he is such an important player in the history of Barca.

“But I think we mustn’t live thinking of the past. These things happen. People change clubs. Our young players are very promising for the future. That’s why I am happy with the team we have,” Koeman said.

For the first time in 17 years, Barcelona will be without their best-ever goal-scorer Messi. Barcelona won the league only twice in the decade before Messi’s debut in 2004, and 10 times after.

Now the Catalan club will have to find a way to succeed without Messi, while still facing the difficult financial situation that led to his departure.

Dutch international Memphis Depay, the club’s star signing in the offseason, had promising performances in preseason.

Sergio Aguero, though, won’t be able to debut until mid-October because of an injury.

Antoine Griezmann and youngster Ansu Fati will continue to contribute in attack, while Pedri Gonzalez will carry a bigger playmaking role in midfield.

Camp Nou will welcome slightly over 20 000 fans to the match on Sunday.


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