Sergio Busquets claimed on Monday that he is still in shock over Lionel Messi’s departure, as Barcelona prepares to play in the Champions League for the first time since 2003.
Following a tumultuous summer transfer window, Barcelona will meet Bayern Munich in Group E at Camp Nou on Tuesday as outsiders.
With over a billion euros in debt, the club released 11 players, including Messi, who joined Paris Saint-Germain after his contract was not renewed.
Messi scored 120 goals in 149 European games for Barcelona and won the championship four times, the last three with Busquets.
In a news conference, Busquets said, “I felt like everyone else, I was in a state of astonishment because of what Leo means for Barca and what he means personally to me and our families.”
“I was dealing with a lot of painful feelings. But these are difficult decisions that are beyond our control, and we must now shift our mindset.”
The 33-year-old also backed Barcelona coach Ronaldo Koeman, whose future has been called into question following comments he made in the Dutch press last week.
Uncertainty about his future was “not pleasant,” according to Koeman, who accused club president Joan Laporta of “speaking too much” by suggesting the coach “doesn’t have all the power.”
“My connection with the president is good,” Koeman said on Monday when asked about his relationship with Laporta. We talk about things if there are things to talk about.”
Barcelona will face Bayern Munich for the first time since a humiliating 8-2 loss to the German champions in August 2020, following which Gerard Pique stated that the club “needed changes from top to bottom.”
“Several players were hurt that night,” Koeman said. “It is something to consider because we now have the opportunity to change it.”
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