Barcelona: Argentina striker Lionel Messi was in tears on Sunday as he attended his final press conference as a Barcelona player to bid farewell to the Spanish club after 21 years.
The maverick striker confirmed the end of his long association with FC Barcelona.
“This is very difficult, I was not prepared for this. Last year I was convinced to leave, but this year we were, my family and I wanted to continue here, in our house,” Goal.com quoted Messi as saying.
“Today I have to say goodbye, I arrived very young at 13 years old, and after 21 years I am leaving with my wife and three children,” he added.
Speaking further, Messi said: “I have no doubts after being away for several years, we will return because I promised my children.”
In what came as one of the biggest news in the football world, Messi left FC Barcelona, earlier this week. As per the club, the reason behind the exit is the financial and structural obstacles.
Despite Barcelona and Lionel Messi has reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract on Thursday, this cannot happen because of Spanish LaLiga regulations on player registration as per the club statement.
As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled, the statement further said.
“FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandizement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life,” it said as per fcbarcelona.com.
Earlier it was reported Messi was all set to sign a new five-year contract with Spanish club Barcelona. Along with signing a new deal, Messi would also be taking a 50 per cent wage cut, Goal.com had reported.
The report had said Messi agreed to take a cut on his yearly earnings in order to re-sign for Barcelona, and the club would make a formal announcement in the coming weeks.
Messi has spent his entire career with Barcelona after signing on with the club in 2004. His contract expired in June this year, but he was set to sign a new deal with the Catalan side. (ANI)