FC Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has confirmed the enormity of losing Lionel Messi.
Koeman was in charge of Barcelona last season but Messi’s dramatic and tearful departure for Paris Saint Germain.
The Dutchman has now offered insight into Messi behind closed doors and just how the club have lost a giant.
"Lionel Messi has obscured everything. He was so good and he won," he told Voetbal International.
"Of course he had good players around him, but he made the difference. Everyone seems better than they are because of him. This is not a criticism, but an observation.
"I knew how good he is, but it's still nice to see it up close every day. Everything you would like to teach a football player, in recognising situations, in taking the ball under pressure, in ball speed, in finishing; with Messi everything is a 10. Not normal, not normal!
"When we did a finishing practice during training, there were sometimes players who started to hit easy balls, a bit of fooling around. But with Messi everything was: boom, boom, boom, boom. Never frills, everything functional. And always wanted to win everything.
"We always play a rondo before training. If the ball goes around 20 times, then the players in the middle must have an extra turn. If that happens three times in a row, the players will form two lines and the two who were in the middle then walk through and get taps on their heads and such.
"I asked Messi if it had happened to him once. ‘Yes, once,’ he said. In all those years. With him, the older players never lost an exercise against the young. It happened once and Messi was seriously angry about that for a week. Really, a tyrant,” Koeman concluded.
Coming up next for Barca is a UEFA Champions League trip to Portugal.