Barcelona icons Xavi and Andres Iniesta have reacted to the news of Lionel Messi’s move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi has signed a two-year deal with PSG after Barcelona were unable to afford a new deal for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, the club being forced to see their greatest ever player depart as a result of La Liga’s financial fair play rules.
The Argentina captain had insisted he wanted to remain at the Camp Nou, having spent his entire club career with Barcelona, winning ten league titles, four Champions League trophies, and scoring a record-breaking 672 goals.
Messi’s former teammates have now been reacting to the news of his departure, with Xavi admitting it is difficult ‘to picture Messi with a shirt other than Barca’s’.
“I’m just so sad for Leo,” he told the Times. “It’s a pity to see him and the club couldn’t find a solution. I know that Leo wanted to stay, but in the end it could not be sorted. The only thing I can say now is that I will miss him a lot. It’s even hard for me to picture Messi with a shirt other than Barça’s.”
Xavi was one of the attendees for Messi’s farewell address to the Camp Nou last week, with the latter visibly emotional during a tearful goodbye to the club and its fans.
“It’s sad for Leo, especially for how I saw him emotionally at the Camp Nou the other day, but for FC Barcelona as well,” he added.
Andres Iniesta has also spoken on Messi’s exit and believes Barcelona will ‘need to recover’ from the shock exit of the star, insisting it will ‘hurt’ to see Messi in PSG’s colours with the Argentine having been ‘everything’ to Barcelona.
“I don’t know what happened internally, nor how things unfolded, but the club will need to recover from this transfer,” he told AFP.
“It will hurt to see him in another team’s shirt. Leo personifies Barcelona. He was everything, he’s a player who transcends the team. I’ve never seen a player like him and I don’t think I ever will.
“[Barcelona] will continue to be one of the best teams, one of those that has to be on the summit.”