“Nothing will be same”, Barcelona players bid emotional farewell to Lionel Messi

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Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati and several other Barcelona players have taken to social media to share their thoughts on Lionel Messi’s exit and send their best wishes to the captain.

There was an initial silence from the players after the news broke yesterday but the messages have since coming flooding in as the reality of Messi leaving finally hits home.

Sergio Busquets was one of the first to share his thoughts and say goodbye to the forward.

There were also emotional posts from Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, and Carles Puyol. Pique admitted that “nothing will ever be the same” now that Messi has played his last game in a Barcelona shirt.

Left-back Jordi Alba also wrote a lengthy post on Instagram.

“What a privilege to have been able to share these 9 seasons. What beautiful experiences we have enjoyed and how we have overcome difficult moments. I was lucky enough to be able to live your first goal in 2005 against Albacete at the Camp Nou and I never thought that one day we would have that complicity that with just a glance we understood each other. How we have enjoyed on the field with your passes in the race and my back pass, how well it worked for us.

“How am I going to miss it!

“You are not only the greatest player in the history of football, but you are also an exceptional human being. Friend, thank you from the heart for everything you have given to the club, for your friendship, for your support in the grey days, for the great moments lived that will remain forever in our memory. I wish you and your whole family the best in your new adventure. A big hug, I love you brother.”

Barcelona youngsters Riqui Puig, Ansu Fati, and Ilaix Moriba also took time out to thank Messi and make it clear just how much they loved being able to play with the GOAT.

French duo Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann also said thank you to Messi in posts on social media. Both players have been linked with summer exits but now look set to stay at the Camp Nou.

Griezmann wrote on Instagram, “The only thing I can tell you and that every soccer lover will think about it: THANK YOU! Thank you for everything you have done at Barcelona! For the city, for the club … you have changed everything! I am sure that it is not a goodbye but a see you later and that your path will cross again with FC Barcelona. I wish you the best, that you and your family are happy wherever you go. Very few know what it is to be Messi and you were an example for me in every way.”

There were also some words of thanks from Dembele. The Frenchman is not expected to feature until November after undergoing surgery but said it had been a “privilege” to play with Messi in his post.

He wrote, “Leo it was a privilege to have played with a legend like you. I thank you for everything you have done for me and for your support in good times and bad. No one will forget what you did for Barcelona and for football lovers. I wish you and your family all the best. Thanks, Leo.”

There was also a typically honest post from goalkeeper Marc-Andre Stergen. The German admitted the two players have had their differences in the past but made his admiration for the captain clear.

Messi had reached an agreement with Barcelona to sign a five-year contract with the trade-off that he earns 50 percent less per year.

But La Liga’s financial fair play rules, which are expected to reduce the amount Barca can spend on salaries this season by some 200 million euros (235 million dollars), led Joan Laporta to conclude they were unable to afford the deal.

Paris Saint-Germain is expected to lead the chase for Messi but Manchester City, who attempted to sign him last year, could also join the bidding.

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