"It's horrible to play without fans, it's a very ugly sensation," said Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, whose great rival Cristiano Ronaldo agreed.
"Playing without fans is like going to the circus and not seeing clowns, it's like going to the garden and not seeing flowers," said the Juventus forward.
English novelist J.B. Priestley summed up almost a century ago the escapism and drama that standing in the crowd can bring: "...there you were, cheering together, thumping one another on the shoulders, swopping judgements like lords of the earth, having pushed your way through a turnstile into another and altogether more splendid kind of life, hurtling with Conflict and yet passionate and beautiful in its Art."
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