Lionel Messi has revealed he was surprised by Pep Guardiola's decision to quit as Barcelona boss at the end of the season.
Speaking for the first time on Guardiola's exit, the Argentina forward said he was saddened to see the end of the 41-year-old coach's incredible four-year reign.
Guardiola delivered an astonishing 14 major trophies - the last of which came with victory over Athletic Bilbao in last Friday's Copa del Rey final.
Messi remains optimistic, however, that Guardiola's assistant Tito Vilanova will be able to keep Barcelona's remarkable momentum going.
"I was surprised and saddened by Guardiola's departure after four great years together with many titles," Messi told AS after arriving in Argentina for a World Cup qualifier against Ecuador.
"It won't be easy after all that Pep achieved, but they did everything together and Tito was a great help in these years."
Messi enjoyed a phenomenal season personally, scoring an amazing 73 goals in all competitions.
But he must live with the frustration of failing to win either La Liga or the UEFA Champions League - having missed a crucial penalty himself against eventual winners Chelsea.
"We were close to winning the league and the Champions League," he said.
"I am madder about the Champions League because I think our elimination was unjust and also for missing that penalty. But this is already behind us.
"I am very happy for all the goals that I scored. My objective is the same every year - to keep learning, growing and improving."