La Liga: Full Transcipt of Lionel Messi’s interview on his decision to remain at Barcelona

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Full Transcipt of Lionel Messi’s interview on his decision to remain at Barcelona

Lionel Messi announces he will remain at Barcelona.

The Argentine made an announcement on Friday that he planned to remain at the Spanish side.

Messi shocked the world weeks ago when he handed in a transfer request, demanding to leave the former La Liga champions.

In an interview with Goal, Messi admitted that he has been discussing his Barcelona exit over the past year and has criticised many aspects of the club.

On his decision to hand in the transfer request

‘I told the club, including the president (Josep Bartomeu), that I wanted to go. I’ve been telling him that all year. I believed it was time to step aside.

‘I believed that the club needed more young players, new players and I thought my time in Barcelona was over. I felt 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 ambitions.

‘It did not come because of the Champions League result against Bayern, no – I had been thinking about the decision 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 keep his word.’

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.

‘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.

‘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.

‘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.’

On the £624m release clause and his contract issues

‘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 £624m clause, and that this is impossible.

On what happens next

‘Actually, now I don’t know what will happen.

‘There is a new coach and new ideas. That’s good, but then we have to see how the team responds and whether or not it will give us to compete at the top level.

‘What I can say is that I’m staying and I’m going to give my best for Barcelona.

‘I will continue at Barca and my attitude will not change no matter how much I have wanted to go. I will do my best.

‘I always want to win, I’m competitive and I don’t like to lose anything. I always want the best for the club, for the dressing room and for myself.

‘I always put the club before anything else. I had the possibility of leaving Barca many times. Every year I could have left and earned more money than at Barcelona. I always said that this was my home and it was what I felt and feel.’

‘To decide there was somewhere better than here was difficult. I felt that I needed a change and new goals, new things’.

No matter how much I go or stay, my love for Barca will never change.