News that the Catalan club would not be re-signing the Argentine superstar became public knowledge on Thursday.
Ever since the bombshell was dropped, speculation has been rife as to whether Messi will actually be leaving Barcelona for good this time.
No members of the current first-team posted anything on social media on Thursday and that looked as if it would continue on Friday.
But just after 5pm UK time, Sergio Busquets – who will now takeover from Messi as Barcelona’s captain – posted an emotional statement on his official Instagram page.
The Spanish midfielder’s message to the six-time Ballon d’Or winner reads: “Still trying to get used to everything and knowing how hard it will be, I can only thank you for what you’ve done for the club and for those we’ve accompanied you over these years, and specifically towards me.
“You came as a child and you’re going to be the best player in history, having made this club grow to the height it deserves and making history, individually and collectively. I can always say I played and shared many moments with you, most very good and I was lucky enough to grow up and enjoy by your side for 13 seasons.
“Beyond all this, I stay with the person and the friendship we made. I will miss you so much. I can only wish the best to you and your family because you deserve it, you will be missed.”
We’re not crying, you are…
Busquets and Messi have been mainstays in Barcelona’s starting XI for over a decade now and it’s going to be strange seeing them apart in 2021/22.
Shortly after Busquets’ post went live, teenage sensation Ansu Fati became the second member of the Blaugrana’s squad to say goodbye to Messi on social media.
His statement posted to Instagram reads: “All the boys who grow up in La Masia dream of playing with you. I feel so lucky to have accomplished it. I wanted to thank you for these two years. For your gestures towards me and everything I have learned. My family and I will forever be grateful.”
Well said, Ansu.
The focus will now switch to Messi’s next club and it appears as if Paris Saint-Germain are the favourites to sign the 34-year-old.
Adam Crafton of The Athletic reports that the French side are confident of closing a deal for the Argentine after holding talks with his father, Jorge.