News In 5 Minutes

News When You Want It

Lionel Messi transfer: Star to stay at Barcelona until 2021 despite Jorge Messi statement | Football | Sport

Lionel Messi has officially confirmed that he will stay at Barcelona for the final year of his current contract. The Barca captain was said to have grown tired with the club’s hierarchy, namely current president Josep Maria Bartomeu, after the 8-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich last month and told them of his wish to leave. It was also suggested that he has doubts as to whether Barca are built to challenge for major honours after their first season without a trophy since 2007-08.

And he has now broken his silence after a turbulent few weeks in which, for some time, it appeared he was set to leave his beloved Barca. 

Messi’s representatives sent a burofax to the Catalan club on August 25 making it clear that he wanted to cut short his contract and leave as a free agent. He even refused to partake in the club’s coronavirus testing last weekend and snubbed the team’s return to training.

Barca argued however that the recission clause in the forward’s contract which allows him to leave for nothing has expired despite the extension of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

La Liga then sided with Barca that Messi’s €700m release clause must be met in full for the 33-year-old to leave the Catalan giants.

Messi and his father Jorge were confident that the Argentine would be able to leave for free, with Manchester City among the clutch of elite European clubs keen to pry him away from Spain.

Lionel Messi confirms he will stay at Barcelona until 2021 despite Jorge Messi statement

Lionel Messi confirms he will stay at Barcelona until 2021 despite Jorge Messi statement (Image: GETTY)

But last Sunday, La Liga said in a statement that they would block Messi – who has spent 20 years at the club – leaving Barca if his extraordinary release clause was not met.

They wrote: “In compliance with the applicable regulations, and following the corresponding procedure in these cases, LaLiga will not carry out the prior visa process for the player to be removed from the federation if they have not previously paid the amount of said clause.”

His father said on Friday that the league had made “a clear error” in their assessment of the situation, insisting that the clause states: “This indemnity will not apply when the player’s decision to unilaterally rescind the contract is effective from the end of the 2019-2020 season.”

He also questioned whether La Liga had even seen the correct contract – but regardless, just hours later, Messi has now confirmed that he will remain at the Nou Camp for at least another 12 months with the star reluctant to enter into a lengthy legal wrangle with the Spanish heavyweights.

The club’s all-time top goalscorer, who boasts a sensational record of 634 goals and 256 assists in 731 appearances, sat down with Goal in an exclusive interview and said: “I told the club, especially the president, that I wanted to go. 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, the decision I had been thinking about 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.”

Speaking out about Bartomeu, Messi insists the Barcelona decision-maker was repeatedly coy in his responses when he asked to sit down and make it clear he wanted out – which is why he had to send a fax to inform the club of his intentions.

“Throughout the year I had been telling the president that I wanted to leave, that the time had come to seek new goals and new directions in my career,” he explained.

“He told me all the time: ‘We’ll talk, not now, this and that’, but nothing. The president did not give me a clue at what he was really saying.

Lionel Messi confirms he will stay at Barcelona until 2021 despite Jorge Messi statement

Lionel Messi confirms he will stay at Barcelona until 2021 despite Jorge Messi statement (Image: GETTY)

“Sending the burofax was making it official that I wanted to go and that I was free and the optional year – I was not going to use it and I wanted to go.

“It was not to make a mess, or to go against the club, but the way to make it official because my decision had been made.”

“If I don’t send the burofax, it’s like nothing happens, I have the optional year I had to have continued all year.

“What they say is that I did not say it before June 10 – but I repeat, we were in the middle of all the competitions and it was not the moment.

“But apart from that, the president always told me ‘when the season is over, you decide if you stay or leave’, he never set a date, and well, it was simply to make it official that I wouldn’t continue, but not to start a fight because I didn’t want to fight against the club.”

Messi added on the impact his initial decision to leave Barca had on his family: “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.

Lionel Messi confirms he will stay at Barcelona until 2021 despite Jorge Messi statement

Lionel Messi confirms he will stay at Barcelona until 2021 despite Jorge Messi statement (Image: GETTY)

“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.

“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 €700 million clause, and that this is impossible.

“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.”

Messi opened up further on the painful conversations he had to have with his family, continuing: “Mateo is still little and he doesn’t realise what it means to go somewhere else and make your life a few years elsewhere.

“Thiago, he is older. He heard something on TV and found out something and asked. I didn’t want him to know anything about being forced to leave, to have to live in a new school, or make new friends.

“He cried to me and said ‘let’s not go’. I repeat that it was hard, really. It was understandable. It happened to me. It is very difficult to make a decision.

“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.

Lionel Messi confirms he will stay at Barcelona until 2021 despite Jorge Messi statement

Lionel Messi confirms he will stay at Barcelona until 2021 despite Jorge Messi statement (Image: GETTY)

“My son, my family, they grew up here and are from here. There was nothing wrong with wanting to leave. I needed it, the club needed it and it was good for everyone. My wife, with all the pain of her soul, supported and accompanied me.

“It hurt me when my love for this club was questioned. No matter how much I go or stay, my love for Barca will never change.

“It has hurt me a lot that things are published against me and above all, that false things are published. Or that they came to think that I could go to trial against Barca in order to benefit myself. 

“I would never do such a thing. I repeat, I wanted to go and it was entirely my right, because the contract said that I could be released. And it is not, ‘I’m leaving and that’s it’. I was leaving and it cost me a lot. 

“I wanted to go because I thought about living my last years of football happily. Lately I have not found happiness within the club.” 

Messi did not discuss whether or not he will sign a new contract with his current deal expiring next summer but it appears drastic changes must be made in order to convince him to see out the final peak years of his career at Barca.

Club legend Ronald Koeman has been confirmed as Barca’s new manager and it remains to be seen whether he can make them competitive once again as they look to take Real Madrid’s league crown and also re-establish themselves as a team to be feared on the continent.

The likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain will keep a keen eye on contract discussions between Messi and Barca in the coming months, knowing they could potentially pick up the player on a free next summer.

Source link