Barcelona confirmed ticket sale on first home game after Messi departure
Barcelona sell half the tickets available for first home game of season since Lionel Messi departure
Barcelona are still licking their wounds from Lionel Messi’s painful departure to Paris Saint-Germain and it seems that fans have little enthusiasm for the new season without their greatest ever player.
Fans are so unexcited for the new campaign that only 15,820 fans applied for tickets for Sunday’s first home game of the LaLiga season against Real Sociedad, only half of the 30,000 seats made available.
The low ticket sales are all the more striking when you consider this will be fans’ first chance to return to the Nou Camp for the first time in 17 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Barca’s last competitive game in front of fans was in fact also against Real Sociedad, on 7 March 2020, when Messi scored a late penalty in a 1-0 win.
Even as stories of the coronavirus spreading across Europe grew, few fans could have imagined that would be the last time they would set foot in the stadium for over a year, while even fewer would have thought it would be the last time they would see Messi in action in a Barca shirt.
One of the most striking images since Messi left was the sight of the Argentine’s picture being removed from the front of the Nou Camp.
And it appears many fans are not yet ready for the new era without the club’s all-time top scorer and most decorated player, even though they are being welcomed back after the local government eased coronavirus restrictions to allow 28,803 fans inside the 99,000 capacity Nou Camp.
According to Spanish newspaper AS, only 15.820 of the club’s 83,500 season ticket holders applied for a ticket for the game against Real Sociedad, meaning the club will not have to hold a ballot to determine who gets a ticket as they first thought.
And the lack of excitement for the new campaign is being seen as a sign of fans’ pain about letting Messi go.
‘If it’s true that indifference is the worst insult, Barca members are sending a very clear message to the club, who begin the season on Sunday with a very serious problem,’ said the report in AS.