Lionel Messi to stay at Barcelona

Leeds: Putting an end to all speculations, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi on Friday confirmed that he will stay at the club.

Revealing the reason behind his decision, the Argentine star said Barcelona president had told him that the only way to leave the club was to pay the EUR700 million clause.

“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,” quoted Messi as saying.

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“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 EUR700 million (£624m/$823m) clause and that this is impossible,” he added.

Earlier on Sunday, the organisers of LaLiga had sided with Barcelona and said that the Argentine striker’s contract with the club is still valid and added that if other clubs are interested in availing the footballer’s services, then they must pay EUR700 million as the release clause amount in full.

Messi also denied taking Barcelona to court saying that such a thought “never crossed my mind.”

“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. It is the club of my life, I have made my life here. Barca gave me everything and I gave it everything. I know that it never crossed my mind to take Barca to court,” he said.

Messi also made a revelation regarding how his wife and children reacted when he told them about his desire to leave Barcelona.

“When I communicated my wish to leave to my wife and children, it was a brutal drama. The whole family began crying, my children did not want to leave Barcelona, nor did they want to change schools,” Messi said.

“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,” he added.

In August, Barcelona was handed an 8-2 drubbing by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final. Also, the Spanish side had to endure a trophy-less 2019-20 campaign.

The club had finished at the second place, behind Real Madrid in La Liga standings in the 2019-20 season. The head coach Quique Setien has already been sacked by the club. Ronald Koeman has been appointed as the new coach of Barcelona.

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