Football icon Lionel Messi has broken down in tears before and after a press conference confirming his Barcelona exit, making his way through a huge crowd to answer questions from an audience who applauded the legendary striker.
The Spanish giants’ record scorer was unable to contain his emotions as he addressed the media at Barca’s Camp Nou home, sobbing and wiping his eyes with a tissue as he spoke about his departure from the club where he has spent his entire exceptional career.
Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi is expected to join Ligue 1 heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain after Barcelona were unable to seal a new contract with the 34-year-old because of Liga financial rules.
“I was convinced I would stay here at Barcelona,” said Messi, whose father, Jorge, is said to have led talks which are at an advanced stage with PSG.
Messi struggles to even to breath. Uses the handkerchief that Antonella gave him. He drinks water. He keeps looking to his three kids who are there too
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) August 8, 2021
“It is what me and my family wanted more than anything. Today, I have to say goodbye to all of this after 21 years.
“This is my home, our home. I wanted to stay at Barcelona and it was the plan, and today I’ve to say goodbye after my entire life here. I am leaving with my wife and three kids.
“I thought it was all sorted, all agreed – then, at the last moment, it was not possible due to an issue with La Liga. That is what happened.
So sad watching a clearly very emotional Lionel Messi having to say goodbye to @FCBarcelona. No player in the history of the sport has given so much joy, so many unforgettable moments, so much success to one club.
— Gary Lineker ? (@GaryLineker) August 8, 2021
“I cannot say about the club. [President Joan] Laporta says they cannot [complete the contract] due to La Liga. I can only say I did everything possible to stay here.
“My new contract was done. All done. I wanted to stay and when I came back from my holidays, it was done. At the last minute, with everything with La Liga, it couldn’t happen.”
Considered by many to be Barcelona’s greatest ever player, Messi asked to leave the club in 2020 before agreeing to extend his rolling deal, ensuring he spent a 17th year with the five-time Champions League winners.
Lionel Messi: ‘My new contract was done. All done. I wanted to stay and when I came back from holidays, it was done. … At the last minute with everything with La Liga, it couldn’t happen.’ pic.twitter.com/pFISCXoVK1
— B/R Football (@brfootball) August 8, 2021
Messi confirms Paris Saint-German “is one possibility … I have nothing confirmed with anybody”
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) August 8, 2021
Messi had verbally agreed a new five-year contract on reduced terms, only for financially-troubled Barca to stun the world by announcing on Thursday that they would be unable to honor the deal.
Argentina hero Messi, who made his way through mobs of fans as he arrived at the media call, described a move to PSG as “one possibility”. “I have nothing confirmed with anybody,” he claimed. “I have had a lot of calls.”
Former Barcelona and England hitman Gary Lineker called the sight of Messi’s tears “so sad”.
“No player in the history of the sport has given so much joy, so many unforgettable moments, so much success to one club,” he added.
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