Messi departure painful but Barca can’t live in past: Ronald

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Barcelona

Lionel Messi is now in Barcelona’s past and the club must live in the present, coach Ronald Koeman said on Saturday, as his side prepare for a new La Liga season without their greatest ever player — and battling through a financial crisis.

Barca are still reeling from the departure of their all-time top scorer to Paris St Germain after being unable to afford to give the Argentine a new contract.

But Koeman said it was time to look to the future with Sunday’s game at home to Real Sociedad coming up fast.

“It’s painful for all Barcelona fans given what Messi has done for the club, but we cannot live in the past,” Koeman told a news conference. “I’m excited for the new season, and I hope the fans are enthusiastic too.

We have to live in the present and not the past. “People have spoken a lot about Messi and that’s normal because of how effective he was and his quality. We won’t have him around anymore, but we still have a very strong squad.

There’s no excuses now, we’ve got games to play and points to win.” Barca did have some good news as they were able to register new signings Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay after Gerard Pique agreed to take a salary cut to help bring the club in line with the league’s financial fair play rules.—AFP

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