The transfer saga regarding Lionel Messi’s future at FC Barcelona has finally come to an end. The player has given an exclusive interview to GOAL where he talked about his situation at the club.
On why did he take so much time to break his silence: “The defeat against Bayern Munich was very difficult to process, we knew they were a strong opponent but we didn’t expect it to end in such a bad way. We have let down the club’s image and I needed some time to process it before clarifying other things.”
On his desire to leave the club: “I told the club, especially the president, that I want to leave. I believed it was time to step aside. I believed that the club needed more young players, 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. Everything became very difficult for me and there came a time when I considered looking for new goals, new atmosphere. I did not make my decision because of the Champions League result against Bayern, I have been thinking about this 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.”
If he has felt lonely: “No, I have never felt lonely, the people who have been with me for a long time are enough to give me strength but it hurts me a lot when I hear the things they say about me, the journalists, the people who doubt my love for the club and saying things that I do not deserve. This world of football is very difficult and there are many fake people. This situation has helped me realize the fake people around me. It hurt me when my love for this club was questioned. No matter if I leave or stay, my love for Barça will never change.”
About what hurt him the most: “A bit of everything, I always put the club before anything else. I had the possibility of leaving Barça many times. Every year I had offers to leave and earn more money than in Barcelona. There is no better place to be than at Barcelona. I felt that I needed a change and new goals.”
About his decision: “I had a hard time deciding, it did not come to my mind because of the Bayern result, I have always said that I want to finish my career here and this is my home. I wanted a winning project, to continue giving my services to Barcelona at the highest level possible but the truth is that there has been no project or anything for a long time, they juggle and cover holes as things go by.”
About how his family reacted to his decision: “When I communicated this to my wife and children, it was a barbaric drama. The whole family was upset, my children did not want to leave Barcelona, nor did they want to change schools. I looked further and I want to compete at the highest level, win titles, compete in the Champions League. It is difficult but you have to compete. The things that happened in Rome, Liverpool, and Lisbon should not happen.”
“Bartomeu always said that I could decide at the end of each season whether I want to leave or stay at the club but now they are pointing towards the clause that expired on June 10th but on that day we were still competing in the league because this virus changed the whole timetable of the season. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave is to pay the 700 million clause, it is impossible, and another way is to go to trial. I would never go to court against Barça because it is the club that I love, that gave me everything since I arrived, it is the club of my life, I have made my life here.”
“I wanted to leave because I was thinking of living my last years of football happily.”
If some things will change now, in Barcelona: “I am going to continue at Barça and my attitude is not going to change no matter how much I wanted to leave. I will do my best. I always want to win, I’m competitive and I don’t like to lose. I always want the best for the club, for the dressing room, and for myself. Actually, now I don’t know what will happen. There is a new coach and a new idea. That’s good, but then we have to see how the team responds and whether or not it will give us a chance to compete. What I can say is that I’m staying and I’m going to give my best.”
About his family: “It was difficult for everyone. I was clear about what I wanted and told my wife about it. My wife supported me throughout this even though she was hurt by my decision.”
What about the most important member of the family? Mateo?: (Laughs), “Mateo is still young and he didn’t realize what it meant to live somewhere else for few years but Thiago, yes. He saw something on TV and asked me and told me that he doesn’t want to leave Barcelona, go somewhere else and make new friends. He cried as well. I repeat, it was a difficult decision.”
About the burofax: “The burofax was to make it official. I have been telling the president about my desire to leave and seek new challenges throughout the year but he always avoided the talk and didn’t give me any choice. I did not send it because I wanted to make a mess or I wanted to go against the club but I wanted to make it official that I have made my decision.”
If he wouldn’t have sent the burofax, things could have been different: “Of course, if I had not sent the burofax, it would have been like nothing happened. They say that I had an option to activate the clause on June 10th but we were in the middle of the competition and it was not the best moment. The president has always told me that I could leave or stay at the end of every season, he never mentioned date but well the burofax was to make things official and not go against the club.”
This concludes Leo Messi’s interview with GOAL. The saga has finally come to an end with Leo Messi staying at FC Barcelona for the 2020-21 season.