Sergio Busquets has insisted that Barcelona can still win the Champions League this season, despite losing star man Lionel Messi in the summer.
Messi departed for Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer last month after Barça were unable to offer him fresh terms due to their dire financial situation. The Messi saga capped off a disastrous few months for the Blaugrana, who also let Antoine Griezmann leave the club on deadline day.
Barça kick off their Champions League campaign against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, in what is the first meeting between the pair since Die Roten humiliated Barça 8-2 last year.
Speaking ahead of the game, captain Busquets reflected on Messi’s departure as well as tipping his side to surprise a few people in Europe this campaign.
“It was a shock, for everything that Leo gave to Barça and personally to me,” he said (via Eurosport).
“It was an accumulation of emotions that were difficult to digest, but we have to try to change the story. We are at the beginning of the season and we’ll have to get used to playing without Leo.
“Anything can happen in football. Chelsea won the Champions League last season and were not favourites,” Busquets added. “We are here, excited and aware of the difficulty, but we have a lot of ambition and we want to win.”
With Messi and Griezmann gone and Martin Braithwaite injured, Ronald Koeman is set to start new loan signing Luuk de Jong up front, flanked by Memphis Depay and Philippe Coutinho. While on loan in Bavaria, Coutinho infamously grabbed a brace for Bayern during the 8-2 game and Koeman will be hoping he can haunt his former club at the Camp Nou.
Despite the doom and gloom that plagued their summer, Barcelona have made a solid start to the domestic season, winning two and drawing one of their opening three La Liga matches.