The Argentine superstar also confirmed that he wanted to stay at the LaLiga club in this summer.
On the evening of August 5, FC Barcelona announced that Lionel Messi would no longer be continuing at the club. Arguably the best player of all-time and a talismanic figure for the club for 21 years, it was difficult for fans throughout the world to imagine Barcelona without him.
Despite reaching at an agreement over a new contract, Lionel Messi was unable to extend his contract with FC Barcelona. Club President Joan Laporta cited the clubs economic trouble and La Liga’s structural issues as reasons behind the club being unable to retain Messi.
On August 8, Lionel Messi revealed that he wanted to stay at the club but could not because of the regulations imposed by La Liga, at an emotional press conference. The Argentine confirmed his departure and opened up about how difficult these series of events have been for him.
Difficultly in accepting the reality
Lionel Messi could be seen with teary eyes up in front of a large set of journalists, teammates and family. “I don’t know what to say. These last few days have been the toughest. I have been here, at this club, for my entire life and I don’t think I am ready for this,” he began.
“Many people think that I wanted to leave. Last year, with all the nonsense, it was true. But this time, it was different. We (his family and him) were convinced that we wanted to stay here now. This is our home. Barcelona has been amazing to us as a city and a club. But after 21 long years, I have to say goodbye to this city with my wife and my Catalan-Argentine kids. It is not easy,” he continued.
The Argentine superstar blamed La Liga for his departure from the club, citing that he and the club had already arrived at an agreement beforehand.
“I thought everything was good until the last minute. The club and I had arrived at an agreement. The issue is with the league. We did everything we could for me to stay, unlike last year, but sadly it doesn’t seem possible. There’s nothing more to it,” he revealed.
“I never imagined having to say goodbye to this club. Especially not in this way. I miss the fans because of the pandemic. It has been difficult to play without them, not hear them sing, not hear them say my name. I always imagined a farewell at a full Camp Nou. But sadly, it has to be this way. However, I am grateful for everything and all the moments I have had here,” Messi expressed.
Reflecting on his years at the club
In an emotional parting note, the Argentine reflected on his long association with FC Barcelona at the press conference on Sunday.
“So many beautiful things have happened here. They have helped me grow, improve and have made me the man that I am today. I have given everything for this club – from my first day to my last. I would do it all over again.”
Reflecting upon his best moment at the club, Lionel Messi felt, “It is very difficult to pinpoint a particular moment after so many years. There have been good and bad moments. But, maybe the time when I made my debut was the best. It was my dream come true and I will always remember the moment that started this incredible journey.”
What is next?
The journalists did not waste much time to ask the Argentine about his future. Links to Paris Saint-Germain have sprouted up and these rumours were discussed promptly.
“Soon after the press release, I fielded a lot of calls from clubs that were interested. Nothing is finalised at the moment,” Lionel Messi revealed.
They also joked about the viral photo of Leo Messi with the PSG players in Ibiza. The 34-year-old responded with a joke about how the PSG players had told him to come to Paris. However, he dismissed the relations by claiming that the meeting was a mere coincidence.
Lionel Messi also opened up about Barcelona after his departure. “Barcelona is one of the best teams in the world. They have an amazing line-up. More players will come now and also in the future. As Laporta said, the club is bigger than any individual.
It will be weird at first but people will get used to it. No one likes change but everyone will soon get used to it, like they do with everything. People come and go, but Barcelona will stay,” he opined upon being asked about the prospect of fans experiencing the club without him.
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