Lionel Messi has confirmed his departure from Barcelona and also answered journalists’ questions regarding a potential move to Paris-Saint Germain (PSG).
In a press conference, the former Barcelona forward broke down in tears as he reflected on his 20 years spent with the club. The 34-year-old football legend was leaving the club he joined at the age of 13 in 2000.
Messi bagged six Balon d’Or titles, scored 672 goals and won a staggering 34 trophies in his time with Barcelona.
“This year, my family and I were convinced we were going to stay at home, that’s what we all wanted more than anything,” Messi said in the auditorium full of Barcelona’s players, staffers, and board members.
“We’d always made this our own, we were at home. We thought we would be staying here in Barcelona. But today, we have to say goodbye to all of this.”
PSG have offered Messi a two-year deal worth £25m a year after tax. The contract includes the option of a third-year but the Argentinian told reporters that nothing is confirmed yet.
“At the moment nothing is confirmed, I received a lot of calls after the Barcelona statement. We’re talking about it,” the football maestro said.
However, hours after the press conference was wrapped up, an ESPN news report claimed that a deal has been agreed between the French club and Messi.
The player was expected to extend his contract with the club on his arrival in Barcelona, but the club informed him that La Liga’s rules bar them from keeping him anymore.
He had offered to reduce his wages by 50%, but according to Barcelona’s board, the salary cap would remain beyond the league’s rules even after docking half of the star player’s pay.
“After 21 years I’m leaving with my three Catalan-Argentine kids. We’ve lived in this city, this is our home. I’m just really grateful for everything, all my teammates, everyone who has been by my side,” he said.
“I gave everything for this club from the first day I arrived at the last. I never imagined having to say goodbye as I didn’t think about it. What’s clear is I did everything possible, and they (Barca) couldn’t do it because of La Liga.”
He addressed the rumors circulating around the footballing circles that the player himself wanted a way out of Spain.
“I’ve heard things said about me, that I didn’t want to continue, but on my life, we did everything we could because I wanted to stay. Last year, I didn’t want to stay and I said it; this year, I wanted to stay and we couldn’t.”
On the other hand, former Manchester City star Sergi Aguero, who has just signed for the Catalan club, has confirmed that he is going nowhere.
Many fans were concerned that Aguero might leave as well after his close friend and Argentina teammate departed from the club.