After a whirlwind of a saga, Lionel Messi will be staying at FC Barcelona.
Having handed in a transfer request last week, Messi, Barcelona’s captain and all-time top scorer, has made the decision to stay put for another year.
His announcement comes just hours after his father and agent Jorge submitted a letter to La Liga during which Messi maintained that his €700 million clause expired at the end of what was an extended 2019/20 campaign and that he should be allowed to leave for free.
A day after Messi’s father met with Josep Maria Bartomeu, Barca’s president who is now being accused of corruption by the Catalan police La Liga once again sided with Barcelona and stated Messi was “taking “parts of the contract out of context”.
Then later on Friday afternoon, widespread reports from respected journalists claimed an official statement on his future would be made, before Messi himself finally confirmed he will not be departing the Nou Camp this summer but only so he avoids a legal dispute.
“When I communicated my wish to leave to my wife and children, it was a brutal drama,” Messi told Goal in an exclusive interview.
“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.
“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.
“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.”