Real Madrid players were left “stunned” by Lionel Messi’s request to leave rivals Barcelona, ESPN reports.
They exchanged frantic WhatsApp messages amongst themselves after the news broke that Messi had faxed the club about his intentions to quit.
A day later, on Wednesday, Los Blancos players were reportedly still saying they found it hard to believe that the 33-year-old would follow through on his threat to dump their bitter rivals.
Not a single member of this Real Madrid squad has played El Clasico without Messi. Even Sergio Ramos joined the summer after Messi made his competitive Barca debut in October 2004.
Messi is the all-time Clasico top scorer with 26 goals, 18 of them in LaLiga.
However, he might now be playing in England next term, with Manchester City keen to reunite him with Pep Guardiola at the Etihad.