An emotional Lionel Messi confirmed on Sunday he was leaving FC Barcelona but that a move to Paris Saint-Germain is not confirmed.
The 34-year-old was given a standing ovation by his teammates and staff at the club, before answering questions from the media.
🔊 Leo Messi: " Sento tristesa de marxar del club que estimo" pic.twitter.com/Kn1Y8ooDH0
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona_cat) August 8, 2021
Messi, who has been a free agent since his contract expired at Camp Nou on June 30, had maintained his silence since Barca announced on Thursday that he will not sign new terms because of financial problems.
Messi had travelled to Barcelona expecting to agree on the details of the announcement of his new five-year deal, and he confirmed he offered to reduce his wages by 50 per cent.
“This year, my family and I were convinced we were going to stay at home, that’s what we all wanted more than anything,” said Messi.
“We’d always made this our own, we were at home. We thought we would be staying here in Barcelona. But today, we have to say goodbye to all of this.
On leaving Barca, he said: “The renewal? It was all done and at the last moment due to the La Liga issue, it couldn’t be done.
“It’s exactly like how Laporta explained it. I did everything possible to stay.
“Last year I didn’t want to stay and I said it. This year I wanted to stay and I couldn’t.”
With 672 goals in 778 games for Barca, Messi leaves as both the club’s record appearance maker and top goalscorer.