‘You arrived as a child, now you are the best player in history’: Sergio Busquets leads tributes from Barcelona stars to Lionel Messi after his 21-year Nou Camp stay came to an end as Gerard Pique admits: ‘Nothing will ever be the same again’
- Sergio Busquets is the first Barcelona player to publicly bid farewell Lionel Messi
- Barca announced they would not be re-signing the Argentine on Thursday night
- They cited ‘financial and structural obstacles’ as the reason for the decision
- Busquets has since said it will be ‘difficult’ to be at Barcelona without Messi
- He also thanked his team-mate for his service to the club over his 21-year career
Sergio Busquets is the first Barcelona player to publicly bid farewell Lionel Messi after the Catalan giants announced they would not be re-signing the Argentine superstar.
Messi was expected to re-sign with the club following positive initial talks between all parties but Barcelona stated that they were unable to renew his contract due to ‘financial and structural obstacles’.
Busquets has since come out to say it will be ‘difficult’ to be at Barcelona without his team-mate and thanked him for his service to the club.
Sergio Busquets (R) is the first Barcelona player to publicly bid farewell Lionel Messi (L)
Busquets took to Instagram to share a collage of pictures with him team-mate and friend.
The accompanying caption read: ‘Still trying to assimilate everything and knowing how difficult it will be, I can only thank you for what you have done for the club and for those who have accompanied you in these years and specifically towards me.
A post shared by Sergio Busquets (@5sergiob)
‘You arrived as a child and you are the best player in history, having made this club grow to the height that it deserves and making history individually and collectively.
‘I can always say that I played and shared many moments with you, most of them very good and I was lucky to grow up and enjoy 13 seasons with you.
‘Beyond all this I remain with the person and the friendship that we made, I will miss you a lot.
‘I can only wish you and your family the best because you deserve it, you will be missed.’
A post shared by Ansu Fati (@ansufati)
Busquets’s tribute to the 34-year-old was followed by Ansu Fati (left)- who said he feels very fortunate to have shared a pitch with Messi (right)
Busquets is set to takeover from Messi as Barcelona’s captain following the Argentine’s shock departure.
However, he will have a lot to live up to as Messi became Barcelona’s record scorer with 672 goals including 120 Champions League goals and a record 474 LaLiga goals.
Messi also managed 10 LaLiga titles, four Champions Leagues and seven Copa del Reys.
Messi’s contribution also saw him claim the European Golden Shoe award for the continent’s top scorer on six occasions.
A post shared by Xavi Hernández (@xavi)
Xavi Hernandez (left) also thanked Messi for everything he did for Barcelona over the years
Busquets’s tribute to the 34-year-old was followed by Ansu Fati – who said he feels very fortunate to have shared a pitch with Messi.
‘All the players who come to La Masia dream of being able to play with you, I feel fortunate to have achieved that,’ Fati posted on Instagram.
‘I wanted to thank you for these two years, for your gestures of affection towards me and for everything I learned, my family and I will always be eternally grateful.’
Coutinho also paid tribute to his Barcelona team-mate, saying it was an honour to not only meet him, but his family too.
‘Thank you for everything, it was a great honour to have met you and played by your side, I’m very grateful for the way you treated me and my family during that time,’ Coutinho wrote.
A post shared by GERARD DEULOFEU (@gerardeulofeu)
Deulofeu said it was a ‘pleasure’ to share such moments with the best player in the world
‘I wish you much success in your future.’
The tributes also poured in from his former team-mates, with the likes of Xavi Hernandez and Gerard Deulofeu sharing their thoughts on social media.
Xavi said: ‘As a Cule, teammate and friendly, I can only thank you for everything you have given us during these years, whatever you do I wish you the best.’
While Deulofeu added: ‘What a pleasure it was to share moments at the best club in the world with the best player in history, I have so much admiration and respect for you, we can only thank you for all the magic you have given us and you will continue to give us every week on the pitch.’
A post shared by Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique)
Gerard Pique has admitted that ‘nothing will ever be the same again’ at Barcelona
Gerard Pique also shared a heart-wrenching statement, saying: ‘Nothing will ever be the same again, neither the Camp Nou, nor the city of Barcelona nor ourselves.
‘After more than 20 years at the club, you will stop wearing the Barcelona shirt, the reality, sometimes, is very hard,’ Pique declared.
‘We met in 2000, we were 13 years old and had a career ahead of us, what a career. If we had designed it at the time it would have been impossible to write it better.
‘Now you are leaving, but I know that one day you will come back.’
Pedro Rodriguez was another Barcelona team-mate that shared his compassion towards the Argentine.
A post shared by Pedro Rodriguez Ledesma (@_pedro17_)
A post shared by R I C A R D P U I G (@riquipuig)
‘Thank you so much, Leo, for everything you have given the club and the FC Barcelona youth players,’ he posted.
‘You have been an example to everyone, I feel fortunate to have played by your side and shared so many good moments. I wish you the best, to you and your family, good luck and success in your new stage.’
While Riqui Puig rounded off the tributes, saying: ‘I have been able to live the childhood dream of any child whose passion is football, to be able to share a dressing room and team with the best player in the world.
‘Living, learning and competing with him is the best thing that has happened to me in these last two years, thank you Leo.’
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