Real Madrid players have reportedly been left gobsmacked that football legend Lionel Messi is on the brink of leaving arch rivals Barcelona.
It is the news which has rocked football, with almost all football fans and pundits alike expecting Messi to end his career at the Nou Camp.
But after the Argentine personally notified Barca via burofax saying he wishes to leave the club, tongues in the football world have been set wagging – none more so than in the Real Madrid group Whatsapp chat.
According to ESPN, sources from within the club have revealed that the group chat used by players has been continuously whirring ever since Messi dropped the bombshell.
The Madrid senior ranks are reportedly ‘incredulous’ at the news, and are struggling to comprehend the possibility of facing Barca in the famous Clasico showdown without their talisman.
Such has been Messi’s long reign at the Nou Camp, not a single player from the current Madrid team have played in a Clasico without Messi being around.
Even club captain Sergio Ramos, who joined Madrid some 15 years ago, has still encounter Messi every time.
Madrid players are said to have discussed how Messi’s exit will impact their La Liga chances, given the side successfully reclaimed the Spanish title this season by finishing ahead of a Barca side which still boasted the Argentine maestro.
Messi is now heavily tipped to finally play in the Premier League, by reuniting with his former manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
City’s chances increased on Friday after it was reported that Paris Saint-Germain have been told by Messi’s father that the Barca captain wants to join City, despite interest from the French capital.
The news comes as a blow to several clubs who were interested in signing Messi this summer, which include Italian sides Inter Milan and Juventus.
Liverpool and Bayern Munich, meanwhile, had pulled themselves out of the running with Messi’s extortionate wages behind a key factor behind opting against a move.