Ever since mid-May, football has been introduced to several health protocols — empty stadiums, virtual crowds, and elbow celebrations — which has marked a distinct change in the sport.
Lionel Messi believes that life and football will never be the same again once the La Liga returns on June 11 after a two-month pause due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After Bundesliga became the first major European league to return back to action on May 16, other leagues like La Liga, Premier League, and Serie A are all set to restart in June.
As the virus has claimed almost 400,000 lives across the world, football has been introduced to several health protocols — empty stadiums, virtual crowds, elbow celebrations, and so on. Because of the pandemic, the clubs, the authorities and related businesses are also facing uncertain financial futures.
“I don’t think football will ever be the same,” Messi said in an interview El Pais on Sunday. “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.”
Barcelona have been back in training for almost a month, and most recently started holding full training sessions from Monday after the government gave its permission.
“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.”
La Liga will resume on June 11 when Sevilla will play Real Betis. As for Barcelona, their first game back will be away against Mallorca on June 15.