Barcelona summer signing Memphis Depay has the unenviable task of trying to fill the enormous void left by arguably the greatest footballer of all time, Lionel Messi.
Memphis, who joined Barça as a free agent in July after his contract with Lyon expired, was naturally excited by the prospect of playing alongside Messi at Camp Nou.
However, the Dutchman says he didn’t even get to “say hello” to the legendary Argentine forward, who was forced to leave the Catalan giants due to the club’s perilous financial situation.
Barcelona were only able to register Memphis earlier this month after Gerard Pique agreed to a significant salary reduction.
But the Netherlands international has already made a big impression during his first few appearances for his new employers.
Memphis provided the assist for Pique’s goal during Barça’s 4-2 win over Real Sociedad on the opening weekend of the 2021-22 La Liga season.
And the 27-year-old netted his first competitive goal for the club against Athletic Bilbao away at San Mames on Saturday evening.
Inigo Martinez put the hosts 1-0 up shortly after half-time but Memphis rescued a point for Ronald Koeman’s side with a fine goal in the 75th minute.
Memphis Depay’s highlights vs Athletic Bilbao
The forward, who struggled during a two-year spell with Manchester United earlier in his career, has the potential to surprise many people – and silence his critics – based on his latest appearance for Barça.
Memphis was widely praised by fans and pundits alike following his Man of the Match performance, with some even calling him the ‘perfect’ replacement for Messi.
A one-minute video of his highlights from the game show exactly what he brings to this Barcelona team…
It’s still very early days for Memphis at Barça, of course, but the early signs are more than promising.
He also showed his winning mentality in his post-match interview, when he admitted he couldn’t really enjoy his first official goal for the club because the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
What’s being said about Memphis Depay at Barcelona?
Let’s check out some of the best reaction to Memphis’s latest eye-catching performance…
While no footballer on the planet would be able to emulate what Messi did at Camp Nou, Memphis certainly appears to possess the talent and self-belief to help Barcelona begin the post-Messi era on an unexpectedly positive note.
“He has scored a great goal and had a chance for another,” Koeman said, per AS, after the match. “We must highlight the attitude of the team after going a goal down. Memphis has effectiveness, speed, strength. He’s a great player, that’s why we’ve signed him. You have to have personality, here the demand is better and he takes it well.”
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