Lionel Messi announced Friday that he has opted to remain at Barcelona … for now.
Messi, 33, reversed course after initially expressing interest in leaving the Spanish club last week.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner told Goal.com that a disputed clause in his contract wouldn’t have made it financially feasible to complete a move to another club. Messi’s contract includes a prohibitive 700 million euro (approximately $828.5 million) release clause, with Barcelona noting that his leave-for-free clause had expired in June.
La Liga backed up Barcelona’s claim, declaring that it would not process Messi’s transfer unless his buyout clause was paid.
Lionel Messi: paying clause is ‘impossible’
Messi’s father, Jorge — who also serves as his agent — had face-to-face talks with Barcelona’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu earlier this week in an attempt to resolve the situation.
“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,” Lionel Messi said.
“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 euro clause, and that this is impossible.”
Lionel Messi, however, said he wasn’t interested in taking Barcelona to court to dispute the matter.
Lionel Messi: Barca ‘gave me everything’
“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,” he said.
“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 also admitted that he had an emotional conversation with his family about leaving the Spanish club, and it didn’t go well.
“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,” he said.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)