The transfer saga that has gripped the football world in the last several days has finally been brought to a conclusion. It is not one many Manchester City faithful expected though as the player has reneged on his decision to leave his boyhood club.
The Argentine has bared his mind on his initial decision to leave Barcelona and why he has changed his mind.
The 33-year-old was in a standoff with Barca as the club refused to recognise a clause in his contract that would have allowed him leave at the end of the season. They claimed the moment for using it had passed in June, leaving Messi with the alternative of dragging the side to court in order to force a move.
However, his father who doubles as his agent flew into Spain to hold negotiations with the club. After the talks, both parties have come to an agreement for the player to stay put. As it turned out, many factors led to the decision. Particularly important to the player were his family and love for the club.
“When I communicated my wish to leave to my wife and children, it was a brutal drama,” Messi revealed to Goal.
“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.”
“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,” he stated.
“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 (£624m/$823m) clause, and that this is impossible.”
Messi and his representatives had the option of taking the Catalan side to court as they could argue it was an unusual season due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. But he would not contemplate taking such action.
“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.
“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.”
Ultimately, the disappointments proved insufficient to strengthen his resolve. The emotional connection to the club and the City won the day.
City must now concentrate on the club’s initial plans before news broke out about Messi’s decision.