Koeman sees reasons for post-Messi optimism in Joan Gamper win

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FILED - Barcelona's Lionel Messi is pictured during the UEFA Champions League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and Barcelona at Wembley Stadium. Barcelona announced today, Thursday, that Argentine magician Lionel Messi will not return to the Catalan team due to
FILED - Barcelona's Lionel Messi is pictured during the UEFA Champions League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and Barcelona at Wembley Stadium. Barcelona announced today, Thursday, that Argentine magician Lionel Messi will not return to the Catalan team due to "economic and structural obstacles." Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire/dpa
Spining

Perhaps it’s not all doom and gloom at the Camp Nou Stadium after Leo Messi’s departure from FC Barcelona following an emotional press conference and the Barca players showed that on Sunday evening.

If Messi’s lunchtime press conference to say goodbye to the club he joined as a 13-year-old was the emotional part of the day as he was given an ovation by his now former companions after financial fair play issues made it impossible for him to continue, those same former teammates showed there is life without the striker after all with a performance to lift the spirits of depressed Barca supporters.

Goals from Memphis Depay, Martin Braithwaite and Riqui Puig gave Barca a 3-0 win over Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus in Barca’s traditional pre-season Joan Gamper trophy game and although Barca are a week further in their preparations for the new campaign than Juventus, the signs are that all is not lost with Messi’s departure.

Memphis showed he will be a good signing and the team, which is still without Pedri after the Olympics and Kun Aguero after Copa America, had few problems in brushing aside the Italians.

“I told the players before the game that it had been an emotional day with Leo’s goodbye, but that we are professionals and we all want the best for the club. We have to turn the page and show that we are a good team and we can have a good season,” said Barca coach Ronald Koeman afterwards.

“Despite Leo Messi’s goodbye, we are excited about the new season, with the squad and with the signings and the young players, who will always be the future of the club. I am certain they will give us a lot of reasons to be happy in the future,” added the coach.

Koeman singled out 18-year-old Yussuf Demir, who impressed in midfield and the Austrian, who is on loan from Rapid Vienna, could be in line for a start against Real Sociedad in the La Liga opener next weekend.

“It’s always important for the youngsters to take their chances. We know he has talent and can play in midfield, he is one of the young players who is important for the first team,” he commented. Enditem

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