No sign of peace at Barcelona as Messi simmers and Suárez says goodbye | Sid Lowe

As their La Liga season starts on Sunday, the Camp Nou club are still in turmoil. Can playing matches lift the mood?

“It’s been a mad month; lots of things you would never have imagined happened,” Luis Suárez said and it wasn’t over yet – at least not for the men he was leaving behind. On Thursday afternoon, the Uruguayan sat at the Camp Nou, holding back the tears as he announced his departure after six years and 198 goals. On Friday morning, two days before the start of their season, Lionel Messi turned up for training alone, the absence of his best friend hitting home and the Argentinian hitting out.

“I was already getting the idea into my head but today I walked into the dressing room and the penny dropped,” Barcelona’s captain wrote. “How hard it’s going to be to not share every day with you. It’s going to be strange to see you in a different shirt and even more so to play against you. You deserved to depart as what you are: one of the most important players in the club’s history. Not for them to kick you out like they did. But truth is, nothing surprises me any more.” It was exactly a month since Messi had sent a burofax to the Camp Nou, telling them he was leaving. Thirty-one days later, the man who wanted to go was still there and the man who wanted to stay had gone. As for the man Messi blames, the president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, he reached the end of the month still standing. All around him, though, the building is burning.

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