“And then you don’t play Messi, Dad?”

Only one name has sounded in Johan Cruyff: Leo Messi. In the corridors (full of Barça shirts with the 10 of the Argentine star), in the toilets, at the entrances and in the bars. “And then you don’t play Messi, Dad?” A little boy would say at the Johan Cruyff Stadium entrance. Like him, many Catalan partners gathered at the Sant Joan Despí stadium to celebrate the Joan Gamper trophy had a very latent concern as they found their seats: “And now what do we do?”, They wondered.

The post-Messi era began with the Joan Gamper Trophy on the same day that the Argentine offered his version of events and said goodbye to the club “of his life”. The 2,924 fans present at Johan could not think of anything else. Concern, anger and sadness have surrounded Ronald Koeman’s team debut this season. With the mind more attentive to what happened this morning in the 1899 Auditorium of the Camp Nou than on Johan’s turf, football has passed into the background. “I don’t understand how it ended like that,” one partner stated as he tried to decipher where his seat was by circling the entrance.

“I don’t like the fact that a legend like Messi has had to leave the club of his life like this. Without a tribute, everything is right. I’m very sorry,” he was heard in Johan’s lower tier. Doubts are widespread and disbelief at having reached this point means that most members do not know how to accept the new reality: Messi is no longer a Barça player and probably PSG in the next few hours, the particular executioner of the Catalan club.

Unlike the stands, on the pitch there was no shirt with the name of Messi in the official presentation of the first two teams of the Barça entity. One by one, and interspersed, the public address system has been calling the members of the two groups, in addition to thestaff and the technical body. When all the players were on the green and ready for the speeches, the stands exploded to the shout of “Messi, Messi”. The fans, wearing T-shirts in the air with the Argentine’s 10th, wanted to pay their particular homage to the former Barça player.

The Argentine’s farewell had its consequences in the official presentation ceremony. Not all Ronald Koeman footballers have been received equally by the fans and the most miserable has been Samuel Umtiti. The Barça center-back has received a resounding reprimand from the members. With cries of “out, out,” Johan has let the Frenchman know that he is not accepted, blaming him in part for saying goodbye to the Argentine. He, walking capcot, has crossed to the middle of the playing field, where he has met with the rest of his teammates: neither greetings nor applause. Sergi Roberto, Clement Lenglet and Miralem Pjanic have been the other Barça players who have booed the Barça members present at the Joan Gamper Trophy. They, however, have come out to greet the fans.

In the 10th minute, a new Barça ritual

Both Ronald Koeman and Sergio Busquets, the new first captain, wanted to mention the Argentine and dedicate a few words of gratitude. “Despite the farewell of Leo Messi, we are very excited about this new season. With the squad we have, the signings we have made and, in addition, young people have come up, which is always the future of this great club,” he said. Koeman reflected before passing the microphone to Buquets. “I want to make a special mention of Leo. Thank you, Leo, for taking Barça to the highest place in history, being the best player in the world and making all the individual and collective records. We will always be very grateful to you. we will miss you very much and we wish you all the best. Eternal thanks, Leo “, confessed the captain culer, who was also present this morning at the farewell ceremony of the Argentine at the Camp Nou with the rest of the team.

Once the game started, there was silence, which was only broken by a couple of applause and the celebration of Memphis Depay’s goal. That, however, until the tenth minute. As if it were a pact, at the exact moment when the tenth minute of the match began, everyone began to applaud. The screams bounced all over the stadium and for a moment no one was listening to what was happening on the green. Messi has been present in every minute of the match. Among the members gathered here, with solitary cries from the stands, or in the minds of those children (and not so many children) who will not be able to see Messi play on the green carpet of the Camp Nou ever again.




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