Sat, 04 Jul 2020

Barcelona and Argentina captain Lionel Messi said he was eager to start playing again but thought La Liga games behind closed doors would feel "weird".

Messi, who after a few weeks confined like the rest of Spain by the coronavirus pandemic, is training with Barca again ahead of a planned resumption of La Liga behind closed doors on the weekend on 12 June.

"We cannot think about what we are leaving behind this year. It is better to think about the future," said Messi on the website of sports brand Adidas.

"Like going back to day-to-day training, seeing your teammates, playing your first few games. No doubt it will be strange at first, but I am looking forward to competing again!

He said playing without fans "implies a series of challenges. The preparation at squad level is the same as for any other match, but it is true that individually you have to train and get mentally prepared to play without people because it is very weird."

"It will be like starting over," he said. "Technically it will be the same season, but I think all teams and players will experience it differently."

Messi was due to lead Argentina this summer in the Copa America, where his country are joint hosts with Colombia, but in March, the competition was postponed to June and July next year.

"Postponing the Copa America was a huge disappointment, but of course it was reasonable and most logical," Messi said.

"The Copa was going to be a big event for me this year and I was really looking forward to playing in it again," he said.

"It was hard when I heard about the postponement, but I understood it perfectly," he said

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