Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has explained how tough it has been to play without fans in the last year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, likening the experience to a training session.

“It’s horrible to play without fans. It’s a very ugly sensation,” Barcelona captain Messi told Marca on Monday after receiving the Pichichi award for the top scorer in La Liga last season.

“Seeing no one in the stadium is like a training session and it is very tough to really get going at the start of a game.”

The new normal of football in empty stadiums has certainly taken its toll on Messi and Barca.

The Catalans were top of La Liga with 11 games to go when last season was disrupted by the pandemic but they surrendered the title to Real Madrid when play resumed in empty stadiums.

The side then suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League in an empty Estadio da…

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