Ending weeks of anticipation, Lionel Messi on Friday confirmed that he will be staying at Barcelona for the next season despite having previously stated to the club about his intention to leave the Spanish football giants this season.
In an interview with Goal.com on Friday, the Argentina forward said: “I wasn’t happy and I wanted to leave. I have not been allowed this in any way and I will stay at the club so as not to get into a legal dispute. The management of the club led by Bartomeu is a disaster.”
In late August, Messi dropped a bombshell expressing his intention to leave Barcelona on a free transfer. The announcement came just a few days after their Bayern Munich drubbing in the Champions League quarterfinal. But the club informed the Argentine talisman that the date for using that clause had passed in June leaving Messi to find a different track.
But ending the long speculation and talks around the release clause, Messi said that he would stay at Camp Now in a bid to not take the club to the court.
“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.”
Messi then slammed Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who he claims had promised that he could leave the club at the end of the season for free.
“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.”