Putting an end to all speculations around his future with Spanish giants – FC Barcelona – Lionel Messi has confirmed he will stay with the Catalans for another season to avoid any kind of legal battle. The Argentina forward had previously stated his intention to leave the club on a free transfer. Messi had finally broken his long silence on the transfer saga, saying he would never want to drag Barca to court over the 700 million release clause which has led to disagreement between both the parties. Also Read - Lionel Messi Selected in Argentina's FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier Squad
In an exclusive interview with Goal.com on Friday, the 33-year-old stated that despite his dissatisfaction with the leadership of the club by president Josep Maria Bartomeu, he would remain at Barcelona. “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. Also Read - Lionel Messi to Miss El Classico vs Real Madrid in LaLiga Due to FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers
“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. Also Read - Football | MS Dhoni's Aggression And Humility Influenced Me, Says Anirudh Thapa
“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 clause, and that this is impossible.”
Messi, whose camp believed that a clause in his contract meant he could walk away for no fee. He said: “There was another way and it was to go to trial. I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, which gave me everything since I arrived.”
“Barça gave me everything and I gave it everything. I know that it never crossed my mind to take Barça to court,” Messi added.
The Rosario-born player also revealed that he had informed Barca president of his intention to leave earlier and it was in his mind throughout the year. He had already made up his mind to leave Barca before their 8-2 thrashing by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinal.
“He believed it was time to step aside,” Messi said. “I believed that the club needed more young people, new people and I thought my time in Barcelona was over, feeling very sorry 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.”
Messi also admitted that his family had started crying when he informed them of his decision to leave but only the prospect of a court battle with Barcelona had changed his mind.
“When I communicated this to my wife and children, it was a brutal drama,” he said. “The whole family crying, my children did not want to leave Barcelona, nor did they want to change schools. 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 clause, that this is impossible. I love Barcelona and I’m not going to find a better place than here anywhere. Still, I have the right to decide. I was going to look for new goals and new challenges. And tomorrow I could go back, because here in Barcelona I have everything.”
Earlier on Friday Messi’s father, Jorge Messi hit back at La Liga with a statement refuting their claim that his son’s €700m release clause was still valid.