The first goal in the post-Messi era at Barcelona was netted a short time ago, in altogether poetic fashion.
Messi moves on
Ongoings at the Camp Nou have of course taken centre stage in the media over the last couple of weeks.
This comes on the back of the bombshell announcement that, following two decades with the club, Lionel Messi would be bringing a permanent end to his Barcelona stint this summer.
Just hours after it had been widely reported that a contract agreement between the two parties was close, the Blaugrana released a statement, admitting that they had essentially been left with no choice but to part with the club’s greatest-ever player.
LATEST NEWS | Leo #Messi will not continue with FC Barcelona
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 5, 2021
Messi, in turn, has since gone on to put pen to paper on a deal with Paris Saint-Germain, joining the likes of Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Achraf Hakimi in making their way to the Parc des Princes ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
Messi’s exit, however, marks only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the drama to have unfolded in Catalunya of late.
Remarkably, amid a financial crisis stemming from years of poor decisions on both the transfer and contract fronts, Barcelona, until this weekend, found themselves unable to register a number of the club’s summer additions to Ronald Koeman’s squad for La Liga.
In turn, with just 24 hours to go before their season opener versus Real Sociedad, all of Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero (currently injured) were technically ineligible to take to the pitch.
This, however, was only until word was forthcoming that a wonderful gesture of selflessness on the part of Gerard Pique had seen the situation resolved.
In a statement across the club’s social media platforms, Barca confirmed that:
FC Barcelona is able to register Memphis, Eric Garcia and Rey Manaj to play in the Spanish Liga de Futbol Profesional. This has been made possible thanks to an agreement with Gerard Piqué whereby the Barça second captain’s salary has been substantially reduced.
📌 Memphis, Eric Garcia and Rey Manaj, registered for @LaLigaEN
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 14, 2021
Pique on target
And, as outlined above, it has not taken Memphis Depay at all long to repay the kindness of his new teammate.
Koeman’s men are currently locked in action at the Camp Nou, in a league meeting with Real Sociedad.
The clash of course marks the Blaugrana’s first of a competitive nature since Messi’s exit, with Koeman and co., as things stand, leading by a goal to nil.
The man to have found the target? Pique. The player to have set him up? Depay.
Just inside the 20-minute mark in Catalunya, Barca’s gifted summer addition whipped a sumptuous set-piece delivery into the heart of the Sociedad area.
And steaming in to nod beyond Alex Remiro was that man Pique, sparking joyous celebrations around the Camp Nou, and beyond:
Pique takes a pay cut to help his club, heads in their first goal of the season, and then kisses the badge in celebration! 👏
A Barcelona legend 🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/k3jafCXXxx
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) August 15, 2021