Messi: Football will never be the same


FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi claims football will never be the same again once it returns form the coronavirus pandemic.

After sweeping the globe and taking the lives of an estimated 374 000 people, Messi reflected on the aftermath of the novel coronavirus.

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With the exception of Ligue 1, Europe's top-five leagues will be in action within the next two weeks in order to complete the 2019/20 campaign.

The Bundesliga have led the way by playing fixtures behind closed doors but there are still concerns of the long-term future of football around the world as clubs, leagues and the economy of the game looks to revive after the recent suspension.

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Speaking to El Pais, the record six-time Ballon d'Or winner opened up on the turmoil the pandemic has left on football and society as a whole.

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"I don't think football will ever be the same," Messi said. "But beyond football, I don't think life, in general, will ever be the same, either.

"All of us that have experienced this situation will remember what happened in one way or another. In my case, it's with a feeling of sorrow and frustration for those that have suffered the most due to the loss of loved ones.

"I am sure that football and sport, in general, will be affected. Financially, because there are companies linked with the world of sport that will maybe experience some difficulties because of the coronavirus.

"But also professionally, because with the return to training and competing, what was normal before now is going to be different. It will be a strange situation for us as athletes but also for anyone that has to change their usual work dynamic."

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Having donated more than €1-million towards the fight against COVID-19 to hospitals and charities in his native Argentina and Catalonia, Messi praised the health workers who risk their lives during the testing times.

"I am grateful to all of the people that are fighting to beat this virus in hospitals, health centres and care homes," Messi explained. "Nearly all of us have doubts about how the world will be after everything that's happened.

"Beyond the lockdown measures and the whole situation, which caught us by surprise, many people have had a really tough time because they've been directly affected.

"People have lost family and friends and were not even able to say goodbye. There have been a lot of negatives to come from this crisis, but I don't think there's anything worse than losing your loved ones.

"That, for me, is hugely frustrating and unfair."

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