Lionel Messi has finally broken his silence on his strained relationship with Barcelona and why he is rescinding on his decision to leave the club after almost two decades.
The football world was deeply shaken when Messi tried to activate an exit clause in his contract but after weeks of apprehension, the storm appears settled now.
In an exclusive interview with Goal, Messi revealed how his family and undying love for the Catalan club made him back down on his exit threats.
“When I communicated my wish to leave to my wife and children, it was a brutal drama,” Messi told Goal.
“The whole family began crying, my children did not want to leave Barcelona, nor did they want to change schools.
“But I looked further afield and I want to compete at the highest level, win titles, compete in the Champions League. You can win or lose in it, because it is very difficult, but you have to compete.
“At least compete for it and let us not fall apart in Rome, Liverpool, Lisbon. All that led me to think about that decision that I wanted to carry out.”
Even though Messi is staying over at Barcelona for another season, he feels betrayed by the embattled club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu who he accused of not keeping to his word.
“I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not,” he said.
“Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season.
“And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700 million (£624m/$823m) clause, and that this is impossible.”
While Messi stood a chance of forcing a move away through the court, the Argentine told Goal he never imagined taking Barcelona to court for whatever reason.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner admits Barcelona have had a huge impact on his football career and it would be cruel of him to engage them in a legal battle just to leave the club.
“There was another way and it was to go to trial,” he added. “I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, which gave me everything since I arrived.
“It is the club of my life, I have made my life here.
“Barca gave me everything and I gave it everything. I know that it never crossed my mind to take Barca to court.”
With the storm now settled, Messi will be expected to reunite with his teammates under new manager Ronald Koeman.
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