Barcelona begin their assault on the Champions League against Ajax Amsterdam on Wednesday night, and for Lionel Messi, the match will mark the beginning of a process of healing.
The best player in the world was humbled along with his illustrious club-mates last season, when Bayern Munich swept Barca aside to reach and win the Champions League final.
Nobody ever believed Barca’s band of tiki-taka torturers was unbeatable- after all, Inter Milan and Chelsea had both seen them off in European wars of attrition in the past.
But the way Bayern humiliated Barca, inflicting a 7-0 aggregate defeat on the Catalans, left the football world in shock, and of the opinion that Barca’s era of domination had been crushed under a heavy Bavarian boot.
The Blaugrana went on to annex La Liga easily, and Messi says it felt good to have the league title back from Real Madrid.
But he still remembers watching helplessly and injured from the stands, as Barca were taught a ruthless lesson in knockout football by Bayern last season.
And so Messi is determined to help the Spanish champions fire on all cylinders in the Champions League this time around.
"Winning the league was very important because of what it signified -- winning it back after Real Madrid had won it last year,” Messi told Uefa’s official website.
"There's also a bitter taste after what happened in the semi-final against Bayern Munich, where there was a big gap between the two teams -- we didn't go into it in our best shape.
"But that's the past and we have to look forward. What happened against Bayern? They were just the better team in all respects, physically and in football terms too. They just played a great first leg, and had the advantage over the tie, so they were really superior to us."
Barca will contest an intriguing group with AC Milan, who always push them, Celtic, who beat them last season, and Ajax, who share their football philosophy.
Messi knows a tough journey lies ahead, but he is excited and anxious to get started.
"There are top class, historic teams in our group -- big names. Teams that we've faced before, so we know them a bit. Maybe not so with Ajax, but we've watched them. It's an exciting group,” he said.
"Our adaptation with the new coach has been very quick. We try to do what he's asking -- play football the way we always did. Of course he's a new coach with new ideas, but our mentality is the same as ever: start in the best possible way to be able to win all the trophies we're playing for.”