Lionel Messi put an end to uncertainty about his future and announced on Friday that he would stay in Barcelona for the upcoming season.
Messi made the announcement in a video interview published by Goal.com. He said he wanted to "look for a new direction" in his career but not "get into a legal battle with the club".
The decision ended a dead end about his future that began when he told Barcelona 10 days ago that he wanted to leave the club for free at the end of the season.
Barcelona wanted him to finish his contract by June 2021. It claimed that the exit clause cited by Messi expired on June 10 and that he would have to pay the € 700 million ($ 837 million) buyout clause if he wanted to leave now.
"The president (Josep Bartomeu) always said that at the end of the season I could decide whether to leave or stay and in the end he didn't keep his word," said Messi. "The president always said to me," When the season is over, you decide whether to stay or go. "But he never set an appointment."
Messi had told the club about his intention to go with an office fax, a certified document similar to a telegram.
"The Burofax was just to make it official that he was not following the rules so as not to get into a fight because I didn't want to fight with the club," said Messi.
There was no agreement when Messi's father and Bartomeu met on Wednesday to discuss the player's future. Jorge Messi said his son wanted to leave and Barcelona said it would not make his transfer easier.
"I will continue at Barcelona and my attitude will not change no matter how hard I want," Messi said. “I told the club and the president that I wanted to go. I've been telling him all year. Unfortunately, I thought my time in Barcelona was over – I always wanted to end my career here. "
Messi has not made any public statements since the 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League on August 14. He said the defeat, one of the worst in his career, did not lead him to leave the team.
"It was a very difficult year, I suffered a lot from training, games and the locker room," said Messi. "I wanted to win a winning project and title with the club to further build the legend of Barcelona. The truth is that there hasn't been a project or anything in a long time. They juggle and cover holes as things go by."
Even so, Messi said it was not easy to decide to leave the club.
"When I told my wife and children that I wanted to leave, it was brutal drama," he said. "The whole family started crying, my children didn't want to leave Barcelona, nor did they want to change schools."
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