WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVE: From the devastation of his son to the betrayal of the Camp Nou president, the Argentine has explained everything about what happened with his exit attempt.
However, Barca refused to acknowledge the breach of his contract as they claimed the time to use him had passed in June, and a stalemate began in which the Argentina international tried to find a way out.
However, Messi agreed to stay at Camp Nou to avoid dragging his beloved club to court, but only after living a desperately sad few weeks.
“When I communicated my wish to leave to my wife and children, it was a brutal drama,” Messi told Goal.
“The whole family started to cry, my children did not want to leave Barcelona or change schools.
“But I looked further and I want to compete at the highest level, win titles, play in the Champions League. You can win or lose there, because it’s very difficult, but you have to compete.
“At least compete for it and don’t collapse in Rome, Liverpool, Lisbon. All this led me to think about this decision that I wanted to implement.
However, this ambition to accept a new challenge has been thwarted by Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, whom Messi claims to have reneged on a promise he could leave at the end of 2019-2020.
“I thought and was sure I was free to go, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide whether or not to stay,” he said.
“Now they’re clinging to the fact that I didn’t say it until June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the midst of this awful coronavirus and this disease has changed all season.
“And this is the reason why I will continue in the club. Now I’m going to continue in the club because the president told me the only way to leave was to pay the € 700million (£ 624million / $ 823million) clause, and that’s impossible.
There was only one way out if Messi had to leave: sue Barcelona. But the six-time Ballon d’Or winner refuses to take this route and will therefore remain at the club for another 10 months.
“There was another way and that was to go to trial,” he added. “I would never go to court against Barça because it is the club that I love, which has given me everything since my arrival.
“It’s the club of my life, I made my life here.
“Barça gave me everything and I gave them everything. I know it never occurred to me to sue Barca.
Messi opened up to Goal about the heartbreaking conversation he had with his son, Thiago, who didn’t want to leave, while congratulating his wife Antonella for being by his side despite all the negative reactions to his desire to leave Barça.
“Mateo is still small and he doesn’t realize what it means to go elsewhere and make a living for a few years elsewhere,” he says.
“Thiago, he’s older. He heard something on TV and found out something and asked.
“I didn’t want him to know anything about being forced to leave, having to live in a new school, or making new friends.
“He cried for me and said ‘let’s not go’. I repeat it was hard, really.
“It was understandable. It happened to me. It is very difficult to make a decision.
“I love Barcelona and I won’t find a better place than here nowhere. However, I have the right to decide. I was going to look for new goals and new challenges. And tomorrow I could go back there, because here in Barcelona I have everything.
“My son, my family, they grew up here and are from here. There was nothing wrong with wanting to leave. I needed it, the club needed it and it was good for everyone.
“My wife, with all the pain of her soul, supported and accompanied me.
Messi will now prepare to start the season under the guidance of new Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman as the club rebound from a terrible 2019-20 in which he failed to win La Liga, Champions League or to reach the final of the Copa del Rey.