In the list of “first time” of Barcelona without Lionel Messi, one of the most felt will be this Tuesday (14). The Champions League group stage starts with the Spanish team without the Argentine in the squad. The last season this happened was in 2002-2003. At the time, the best future in the world was between 15 and 16 years old.
Barcelona host Bayern Munich (ALE) for the first round of Group E at 16:00. The match will be broadcast live on SBT.
Messi signed a contract with Paris Saint-Germain in July this year and ended his spell at Barcelona, which began in 2000, when he was 12 years old. The Catalans, in a deep financial crisis, had no money to keep it.
The Argentine debuted in the European tournament in the 2004/2005 season, against Shakhtar Donetsk (UCR). It was the beginning of a trajectory in which he would become the most important name in the history of Barcelona, six times voted best in the world.
He was Champions League champion in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2015, the last three as the most important part of the team.
In the 2003/2004 season, still without Messi, Barcelona played the Uefa Cup.
The star’s absence is still felt by fans, despite coach Ronald Koeman’s attempts to rebuild the team. Because of the restrictions caused by Covid-19, only 40,000 people will be able to enter the Camp Nou (capacity for 93,000). But until this Sunday (12), there were still eight thousand tickets available.
In order not to run aground, the board put them up for sale to the general public, not just to partners. Something that in previous years would have been unthinkable. Years Lionel Messi was at the club.
The last time that Tuesday’s opponents faced each other had implications for the departure of the shirt 10. In the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2020, Bayern thrashed 8-2 at Estádio da Luz, in Lisbon. Shortly thereafter, Messi asked to leave. His intention was to go to Manchester City.
The Catalans refused to sell it for less than the termination fine: 700 million euros (R$4.3 billion in current values) and made any negotiation unfeasible.
One of the favorites for the European title, Bayern has what Barcelona once had: the title holder of the best in the world. In nine games since the start of the European season, for the Bavarian team and Poland, striker Robert Lewandowski has scored 12 goals.
In an interview this weekend with Dutch TV, Ronald Koeman was anything but modest in evaluating his work for Barcelona so far and his commitment to giving young players a chance.
“Thanks to me, this club has a future,” he said, in a statement that may not sound good to fans. Barcelona only managed to register signings like Memphis Depay because athletes who are already in the squad, like Gerard Piqué, accepted salary reductions.
Messi should only take the field this Wednesday (15), when PSG face Club Brugge, in Belgium.
Before him, there is another attraction. The possible presence of Cristiano Ronaldo for Manchester United against Young Boys, Switzerland. It would be the first appearance of the Portuguese by the English club in the Champions League since the 2009 final, when Barcelona, with a goal by Messi, won 2-0.
Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford after 12 years and made his debut last Saturday (11), when United thrashed Newcastle 4-1. He scored two goals. Due to the short recovery time between the two games, coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did not confirm whether the striker will start.
The confrontation, scheduled for 1:45 pm, in Brasília, will be broadcast by TNT Sports. The same will happen at 4 pm, when defending champions Chelsea (ING) receive Zenit (RUS).
There is the expectation of an even greater evolution of the team, which has not lost any important pieces since last season and even got strong reinforcements. He brought in the Spanish midfielder Saúl Ñíguez and, above all, the Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku.
VIEW THIS TUESDAY’S GAMES BY CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
16h Barcelona (ESP) x Bayern (ALE)
4:00 pm Dynamo Kiev (UCR) x Benfica (POR)
1:45 pm Young Boys (SUI) vs Manchester United (ING)
4:00 pm Villarreal (ESP) x Atalanta (ITA)
13:45 Sevilla (ESP) vs RB Leipzig (ALE)
4 pm Lille (FRA) x Wolfsburg (ALE)
4 pm Chelsea (ING) x Zenit (RUS)
4 pm Malmo (SUE) x Juventus (ITA)