After a hectic few weeks, Lionel Messi has confirmed that he plans to stay with Barcelona and see out the remaining year of his contract.
The Argentine famously sent Barcelona a burofax in the aftermath of their 8-2 mauling at the hands of Bayern Munich informing club officials that he planned to leave the club this summer, believing that he had the right to trigger a clause in his contract to terminate his deal immediately.
Barcelona rejected the request, insisting that the deadline for Messi to leave had passed, and after making it abundantly clear that he would not be sold for anything less than his €700m release clause, Messi’s list of options became increasingly short.
The two parties held crunch talks on Wednesday which are said to have gone positively, and now Messi has confirmed during an interview with Goal that he plans to remain for at least one more season.
“I told the club, especially the president, that I wanted to go,” he said. “I’ve been telling him all year. He believed it was time to step aside. I believed that the club needed more young people, new people and I thought my time in Barcelona was over, feeling it a lot because I always said that I wanted to finish my career here.
“It was a very difficult year, I suffered a lot in training, in games and in the dressing room. Everything became very difficult for me and there came a time when I considered looking for new goals, new airs. It did not come because of the Champions League result against Bayern. I had been thinking about it for a long time.
“I told the president and well, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he did not end up keeping 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.
“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 €700m clause, and that this is impossible.”
Messi and his team have always stood by the existence of the termination clause, and there were suggestions that he would take Barcelona to court to demand his release, but he has confirmed that was never an option for him.
“There was another way and it was to go to trial,” he added. “I would never go to court against Barça 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.
“Barça gave me everything and I gave it everything. I know that it never crossed my mind to take Barça to court.”
Edited by Tiyani wa ka Mabasa