Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi has said that it was “difficult” to address the fans “after what happened last season” when the team failed to win the UEFA Champions League title.
“I don’t regret anything; I repeat what I said last season,” Messi said during the presentation of the squad for the upcoming season on Sunday.
On the Camp Nou pitch before the start of the friendly Joan Gamper Trophy match, going up against Arsenal on Sunday evening, Messi took the microphone while fans chanted his name, reports Efe news.
However, he said that his message for the upcoming season is the same as last year’s: “I trust this squad, these players and this coaching staff and I have no doubt that we’re going to fight for it all.”
Messi admitted that “last season ended up being a little bitter, given how it went”, but he pointed out that the team maintained its domestic supremacy despite failing to win the Champions League.
“I think we have to give La Liga the value it deserves. The eighth La Liga title in 11 years. For any club, it would be impressive and for this one as well,” he added.
The Blaugrana captain stressed that the team is keen to start the new season “with renewed hopes”.
Before Messi’s remarks, Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde had stepped onto the Camp Nou pitch but was received by the crowd much more coldly than the Argentine icon.
Before the speeches, the team’s starting lineup for the upcoming 2019/2020 season was presented to the crowd, who delivered great ovations for many players, with veteran striker Luis Suarez receiving one of the longest rounds of applause, as well as the recent signings of Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong.
After acquiring him, Barcelona fans consider De Jong as Camp Nou’s new idol.
Other new signings, however, were received rather indifferently, including those of Roberto Murara ‘Neto’, Moussa Wague and Junior Firpo.
When it was the team captain’s turn, Gerard Pique received a warm welcome from the fans, which improved even more when Messi stepped onto the field once again.