Footballer Lionel Messi, on Sunday, held a press conference, confirming his departure from FC Barcelona, where he played his entire career. A six-time Ballon d’Or winner, Messi, had been out of contract since June end and was forced to cut short his time with the Blaugrana due to a breakdown in the contract.
“This year, my family and I were convinced we were going to stay here, at home — this is what we wanted more than anything,” an emotional Messi said.
Messi had become a free agent upon the expiration of his contract in June and the club, which is battling huge debts, on Friday, confirmed that they have to let him go due to “financial and structural obstacles.”
FC Barcelona failed to re-sign the 34-year-old without exceeding La Liga’s wage limit and Messi admitted that the whole situation was a great shock to him.
“This is very difficult, I was not prepared for this. Last year I was convinced to leave, but this year we were, my family and I wanted to continue here, in our house,” Messi said.
“After 21 years I’m leaving with my three Catalan Argentine kids. We’ve lived in this city, this is our home. I’m just really grateful for everything, all my team-mates, everyone who has been by my side.
“This is really difficult for me after so many years spent here — my entire life. I’m not ready for this,” he said.
“I gave everything for this club from the first day I arrived to the last. I never imagined having to say goodbye as I didn’t think about it. What’s clear is I did everything possible, and they (Barca) couldn’t do it because of La Liga.
“There was no problem with Barcelona, really. I was ok with the club on every detail. We had an agreement on everything, I was convinced to stay at Barça… but it was not possible because of Liga rules.”
“A lot of things have been said about me, but on my behalf we did everything I could because I wanted to stay. Last year I didn’t want to stay and I said it. This year I did and I couldn’t.
“The truth is I don’t know what to say,” said Messi, who signed for the Catalan giants as a 13-year-old.
“After 21 years I am leaving with my three Catalan Argentine children,” said Messi, who won 10 league titles with the club.
“In recent days I have given lots of thought to what I can say and truth to tell I can’t think of anything.
The Argentinian footballer also hinted at the possibility of him joining Paris Saint Germain, saying it “is a possibility”.
Talking about a picture of him with PSG players, he said: “The pic with Paris Saint-Germain was a coincidence, completely. I was there with my friends, we decided to take a photo… they told me: ‘Come to Paris!’ but it was just a joke, we were on holiday.”
Messi leaves Barcelona as their all-time top-scorer with 672 goals under his belt from 778 appearances across all competitions.
During his 21-year stay at the club, Messi picked up 34 team trophies, including 10 La Liga titles and four Champion League titles, with the 2020-21 Copa del Rey being the latest piece of trophy added to his cabinet.