On the day when Lionel Messi made a tearful exit from his beloved club Barcelona – a new life started in Barcelona as they thrashed Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus for 3-0 in the Joan Gamper Trophy. Memphis Depay, Martin Braithwaite, and Riqui Puig scored the goals.

Fans had hoped for a showdown between the Argentinian forward and Juve’s Cristiano Ronaldo, with the two having won 11 Ballon d’Or trophies between them, but Messi’s departure prevented that from happening.

Instead, there were tributes.

Shouts of “Messi, Messi” could be heard prior to the game, attended by around 2,600 fans at the Johan Cruyff Stadium, and there were more in the 10th minute of the encounter, as a tribute to the club’s most famous Number 10 and all-time leading scorer.

Fans also screamed Messi’s name whenever Ronaldo touched the ball. The former Real Madrid player, who played the opening half in what was his first appearance in the pre-season, twice went close to scoring and clashed at one point with the USA defender Sergino Dest.

Barca started the game with a goal as Yusuf Demir released Memphis Depay and the Dutchman didn’t disappoint in a one-on-one with Szczesny, and the Blaugrana had the lead within three minutes.

The Catalans continued to attack well with plenty of movement and smart passing, and Demir and Memphis were the stars of the show with their incisiveness and creativity.

Demir had a goal disallowed for offside, and Antoine Griezmann had a goal of his own called off for the same reason as Barca could have capped off an impressive first half with another goal or two.

Juventus were largely lifeless throughout the first 30 minutes but slowly started to bring danger on the counter-attack, and Neto needed to make two important saves on shots by Álvaro Morata and Cristiano Ronaldo in the final moments of the half.

At halftime, a good Barca performance had the lead it deserved but there was still work to be done in the second half to finish the job.

Juventus made a strong start to the second half, with halftime substitutes bringing a lot of energy and intensity to the attack, and Federico Chiesa had moments of brilliance that required Neto to intervene again.

Slowly but surely the Juve pressure lost some steam, and Barça had a comfortable end to the game where they controlled possession and tried to get a third. And that’s what they did with the final kick of the game when a very good team passing sequence ended with a great goal by Riqui Puig to make it 3-0 as the final whistle sounded.

“It’s not one of the best days,” Barcelona defender Gerard Pique admitted after the game.

“You know that you have to go through this day but the team was affected. Especially those of us who have spent more years sharing a dressing room with [Messi].”

“At the level of talent and magic, it is not the same when the best in history goes away,” Pique continued.

“You lose a very important part in the attack, someone that gave you a lot of goals and assists. We have to compete.”

“Everyone knows what happened today and what we lost. It was not easy,” Neto said.


“There was a lot of emotion in the air but we are all professionals and we know that this has to continue. We have done what we had to do.”

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