The conflict between FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi took an unexpected turn. The Argentine star player, who recently informed the club that he wanted to leave, has decided to stay with FC Barcelona, he says in an interview with football website Goal.com. Messi will stay until 30 June 2021, which is the date his contract expires.
The 33-year-old attacker says he wasn’t happy and absolutely wanted to leave. “I wanted to be happy for my last football years, but there was no happiness in the club.”
Still, his own happiness was not worth it for him to end up in a courtroom with his beloved Barcelona about the dissolution of his contract. “It never went through my head to sue Barcelona,” Messi says
On the other hand, he doesn’t have a good word left for club chairman Josep Maria Bartomeu. “He has always said to me that at the end of the season it was up to me whether I wanted to leave or not. The club then insisted on the fact that I should have made my choice before June 10, while we were still working on the league”
“Impossible to pay 700 million euros
“So this is the reason why I stay with the club”, Messi continues. “I’m staying because the president told me that I can only leave if the 700 million euro clause is paid and that’s impossible”
Messi, who had repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the course of events within the club, was on a collision course with the leadership of Barcelona since the humiliating 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Not long after the elimination, he said he wanted to leave the club where he grew up.
The fact that he is staying is a relief for the brand new coach Ronald Koeman, who less than a week after joining the club from Spain was confronted with the departure wish of his star player.
Koeman, who was commissioned to drastically renovate the first team on his appointment, and saw Messi as a pillar for his project, did let Luis Suárez – a good friend of the Argentinean – know not long after his arrival that there was no more room for him in the new team.
Was that the straw that made the bucket overflow for Messi? Not long after that he decided to leave. Based on the clause in his contract the Argentinean thought he could leave for another club without transfer. But according to FC Barcelona that kite didn’t go, which created an icy relationship between club and player.
Father Jorge Messi, who acts as his son’s fiduciary, played an important role in the reconciliation between his son and his employer. The past few days he spoke extensively with Barcelona chairman Bartomeu and the cards were put on the table.
After a first attempt to detach his son from the club, Messi senior came to the conclusion that it would not go without a major and time-consuming legal battle. He would have convinced junior that it’s not good to force a breach.
Messi has already been named World Soccer Player of the Year six times and he has helped Barcelona win ten national titles and four Champions League cups.