Barcelona: Lionel Messi fought back tears Sunday as he began a press conference at which he confirmed he is leaving Barcelona, where he has played his entire career.
The 34-year-old Argentine superstar has won the Ballon d’Or award six times and has not had a contract since the end of June. Barcelona said they could not keep him, and Messi admitted that a transfer to Paris Saint-Germain was a “possibility”.
“This year, my family and I were convinced we were going to stay here, at home — this is what we wanted more than anything,” said a suited Messi as he struggled to contain his emotions.
“I have still not come to terms with the reality of leaving this club now, changing my life. I love this club.
Last year, he was frustrated by some of the club’s poor performance in Europe. He tried to terminate his contract, where he won the Champions League four times, but eventually stayed.
Last year, he explained, “I was convinced I knew what I wanted say, but this year is not the same”, stressing his preference was to prolong his stay rather than contemplate what now seems a likely reunion with former clubmate Neymar at PSG — ostensibly the only club that can afford him with Manchester City having distanced themselves.
He strongly denied the need for a pay increase, but instead, he accepted a 50% pay cut.
“I would ve liked to have won another Champions League,” he added while stressing that “I don t regret anything, I tried to give my best and I m ending my career here with a good number of titles”.