Lionel Messi has narrated how his wife and children reacted to the news of his planned departure from Barcelona.
Messi, who described their reaction as “brutal”, had spent almost 20 years in Barcelona, where he lives with his wife Antonella Roccuzzo, and his three sons, Thiago, Mateo, and Ciro.
Messi had, for a while at least, believed he could walk away from Barcelona on a free transfer by exercising a clause in his contract which stipulated he could leave at the end of every season without a single euro being paid to the club.
Even though the deadline to exercise the clause has passed, Messi’s lawyers believe Barcelona should honour it as the season had to be extended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, La Liga has bolstered Barcelona’s stance, with the club insisting the clause has expired and the only way Messi will be allowed to leave is if his €700m release clause is paid in full.
But Messi’s father and agent Jorge insisted Barcelona’s €700m release clause is “not applicable at all” and his son should be able to leave the club for free.
Messi told Goal, “When I communicated my wish to leave to my wife and children, it was a brutal drama. The whole family began crying, my children did not want to leave Barcelona.”
The footballer said on Friday he will stay at Barcelona, insisting he could never go to court against “the club of his life”.
He launched a stinging attack on Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu, whom he accused of going back on an agreement to let him leave for free at the end of last season.
Messi said, “I thought and we were sure that I was free. The president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not and now they hold on to the fact that I did not say it before June 10 when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for the league in the middle of this shitty virus and this disease that altered all the dates.
“And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club… because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the 700-million-euro release clause.
“This is impossible, and then the other way was to go to trial. I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, that gave me everything since I arrived, it is the club of my life, I have made my life here.”
Messi had said he wanted to leave the club he joined as a boy after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in August.
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