Lionel Messi will STAY at Barcelona but could leave for free next year

‘It was a brutal drama… now I am going to continue in the club’: Lionel Messi confirms he will begrudgingly STAY at Barcelona for now with superstar finally giving up on his fight for move to Manchester City in stunning U-turn

  • Lionel Messi confirmed he will remain at Barcelona despite his transfer request
  • The superstar has given up on a stunning move to Manchester City this summer
  • The 33-year-old hinted avoiding a court battle was his main reason for staying 
  • His father Jorge had reiterated that his reported release clause does not exist  
  • The statement also took aim at LaLiga for attempting to block a move to England 

Lionel Messi has confirmed he will stay at Barcelona against his wishes and hinted his desire to avoid a courtroom battle was the overriding reason behind the decision.

The superstar’s bombshell U-turn was officially announced on Friday evening, although Messi has once again doubled down on his criticism of the board and its under-fire president Josep Bartomeu.

The 33-year-old club captain announced he is finally abandoning attempts at a sensational move to Manchester City this summer in a recorded interview despite having initially demanded to leave.  

Lionel Messi has confirmed he will remain at Barcelona due to his desire to avoid a legal battle

The superstar’s bombshell U-turn was officially announced in an interview on Friday evening

Messi’s desire to avoid a courtroom battle with the club is the main reason behind his decision

Messi told Goal in an explosive admission: ‘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.’ 

Messi told the club he wanted to leave last month after growing tired of the club’s leadership

Jorge Messi had refuted claims from Barca that his son has a €700m release clause in his deal

He had also slammed LaLiga for getting involved in the saga and insisting a fee must be paid 

The talisman also revealed he had never considered taking his boyhood club to court in order to free himself from his deal.

He added: ‘I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, which gave me everything since I arrived. 

‘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.’

Messi’s ambition to leave, and more than likely head to the Premier League, was ultimately shattered by the club. Barcelona remained steadfast in their stance that the player’s only exit was through his eye-watering release clause.

The disappointment from the superstar was tangible in his wide-ranging and emotional interview, and Messi also directed anger at Bartomeu. The president has been accused of backtracking on a promise made to Messi, which would have allowed him to leave at the end of last season. 

Messi accused Barcelona chief Josep Bartomeu of backtracking on a promise to let him leave

Manchester City’s hopes of snapping up Messi in a sensational swoop have now been ended

‘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,’ Messi added.

‘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.’ 

Messi had appeared to be willing to fight on when his father issued a statement reiterating his claim that he does not have a €700m release clause. 

Messi made no secret of his desire to leave but Barcelona’s firm stance prevented his exit

His father Jorge issued the statement on Friday that appeared to quote directly from his contract stating: ‘The release clause will not apply when the unilateral resolution of the contract comes into effect after the end of the 2019-20 season.’

The statement also slammed La Liga for wading in on the debate last week and claiming Barcelona were right to demand €700m from anyone who wanted to sign their captain.

‘We don’t know what contract they have analysed,’ it said, and also condemned their ‘obvious lack of impartiality’ in the matter.

But the statement from Messi’s father appears to have been the last shot fired before the white flag was raised. 

Not having a release clause could have drastically changed things for Manchester City if the Barcelona captain had been prepared to rip up his contract and let a tribunal decide his transfer fee. 

Messi also revealed his family were left shocked and emotional by his initial decision to leave

La Liga responded immediately reiterating their position and accusing the Messi statement of having taken the clause quoted from his contract out of context.

The league put its weight behind Barcelona’s claim Messi was under contract for one more year and with a €700m buy-out clause, with a statement issued August 30.

The statement said: ‘The contract is currently in force and has a release clause applicable in the event that Messi decides to unilaterally terminate it.’

La Liga’s stance also threatened to block his move away although that would be beyond its jurisdiction if Messi moved from Spain to England.  

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