'Barcelona are a bit broken' after Messi departure reveals Pique

Cameron Smith
Pique: I hope Messi can be ‘seduced’ into staying at Barcelona

The departure of Lionel Messi from Barcelona has left fans and players alike in shock, and defender Gerard Pique has revealed that the club are still "broken" by the news.

Messi confirmed his exit via a tearful press conference at the Camp Nou on 8 August, in which all the current players were present. The Argentine was given a standing ovation, before admitting why he would be leaving.

It signals the end of a 17-year association between player and club, and it will certainly be strange to see Messi play in a different coloured shirt next year.

His move to Paris Saint-Germain seems almost finalised, but it will take a while to get over this devastating news at Barca, according to Pique.

Despite Messi's exit, Barcelona were able to beat Juventus 3-0 in the Joan Gamper Trophy, although the atmosphere was different without their talisman.

What has Pique said?

The Spanish centre-half, who has played with Messi since 2008, admitted: “The team was honestly a bit broken because of Messi's departure, we will lose magic in attack, but we have to move forward, the fans expect a lot from us.

“We lose the best player of all time. It has hurt us and it hurt him too. I don't know the whole story, the two parties have said that it has been a matter of numbers... The management of the last years hasn't helped, but history shows that we will get up.

“People really want to come to the stadium and we have to cheer the fans. We have to start winning and give them nice things. We need the fans with us.”

Messi has provided the spark for Barcelona for over a decade, and last season he was relied upon as much as ever. He scored 38 goals and assisted 12 in all competitions, but due to La Liga's salary limit, the club can't afford to retain him.

It means the likes of Memphis Depay, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele will need to step up this season. The former opened the scoring against Juventus, before Martin Braithwaite and Riqui Puig netted in the second-half to round off proceedings.

Barcelona face Real Sociedad on 15 August in their first La Liga game of the post-Messi era.