Football | Lionel Messi to remain at Barcelona
There is no doubt that the announcement is tainted by reluctance, but Lionel Messi has committed his future to Barcelona, following a narrative of an imminent departure.
Following last weeks transfer request, the Argentinian has been at the centre of intense focus as to where his future would lie. This, for one more season at least, has now been cleared up.
In an apparent effort to avoid any protracted legal proceedings, the player told Goal.com that he would remain with the club. This was despite Josep Maria Bartomeu, the Barcelona President, apparently giving him the option to depart and then making a u-turn.
“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,” Messi said.
It did not prove to be, but despite remaining with Ronald Koeman's side, Messi paid homage to the club that has been the base for most of his life, let alone his playing career.
“I love Barcelona and I'm not going to find a better place than here anywhere. Still, I have the right to decide. I was going to look for new goals and new challenges. And tomorrow I could go back, 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.”