A former Bayern Munich CEO has said that Barcelona have no soul without Lionel Messi following the German giants' 3-0 win over the Blaugrana on Tuesday night.
Ex-Bavarians chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has reacted to his former side's dominant display over Barca as they walked away emphatic winners at the Camp Nou following their opening 2021/22 UEFA Champion League match.
Scroll through the gallery above to see six team titles that Messi won with Barcelona
Rummenigge praised the 2019/20 Champions League winners for their performance, but also had a few words to say about a new-look Barca that is now without their talisman of more than two decades.
"They [Bayern] played outstandingly well and deserved to win," he told German publication Bild.
"It's too early to talk about favourites. [The competition] only really starts with the knockout phase.
"If you look at the team, the way they [Barca] performed tactically. Without Messi, their souls have been ripped out. They are facing difficult times.
"It was imperative to sell him. The Spanish league has scored an own goal with him."
According to Spanish football news channel El Chiringuito TV, there was a "very tense meeting" between Blaugrana president Joan Laporta and manager Ronaldo Koeman after the match on Tuesday night.
It is further suggested that the Catalan giants may already have a possible successor lined up should Koeman be relieved of his duties, with Johan Cruyff's son Jordi tipped to come in as interim manager.
Here are the teams who have claimed the most UCL/European Cup titles