‘So grateful’: Lionel Messi in tears as he bids farewell to Barcelona
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 08/08/2021
Lionel Messi was in tears as he bade farewell to FC Barcelona – but said he has not yet decided on his future.
“I’m so grateful for the love people have shown me these years,” he told a news conference.
The striker, who broke down as he received a standing ovation, said he tried to “behave with humility and respect, and I hope that’s the memory that will be left of me”.
Messi, 34, has spent his entire career at Barcelona, coming through the club’s academy before going on to score 672 goals in 778 appearances after making his senior debut in 2003.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has officially been a free agent since 1 July after he failed to agree terms over a renewal before his previous Barcelona contract expired on 30 June.
The club announced Messi was set to leave as a new contract couldn’t happen in line with financial fair play rules set by the Spanish league La Liga.
Messi has been linked to a move to PSG, but he said he had not made up his mind about his future.
Although he said PSG is “one possibility” for the future, he added he has nothing confirmed with anyone.
He said: “There are a lot of clubs interested.”
The footballer admitted he was “convinced” he was going to stay at Barcelona, adding it will be “weird” for him to leave but people will get used to it.
Messi also called his departure “the most difficult” moment of his career.
He said: “I’ve been here my entire life, I’m not ready for this. And last year with all the nonsense, I was convinced of what I wanted to say, but this year it is not the same.
“This year my family and I were convinced we were going to stay here, that is what we all wanted more than anything.”
He said his family was “at home” in Barcelona and “we thought we’d be staying here”.
“But today, I have to say goodbye to all of this,” he added.
He told the conference he has “so much respect” for the club and “so many beautiful things” have happened.
“Also some bad things, but all this helped me to grow and improve and make me the person I am today,” he added.
He admitted it had been “difficult” not to hear the fans during the pandemic, saying he was now leaving without seeing them for 18 months.
Messi said: “I hope I can come back and be part of this club again in any way and help it become the best in the world.”
Pressed on how Barcelona will cope without him, he described the club as “one of the best teams in the world”.
He added: “People will get used to it, at first it will be weird but like everything, people will get used to it.
“They have great players, a great squad and in the end, it will be easy for them.”
He will travel to Paris on Sunday for medical tests with PSG later in the evening or early on Monday, according to the L’Equipe newspaper.
The newspaper reported they were close to an agreement, citing Argentine sources.
© Sky News 2020