Barcelona/Bhubaneswar: Football legend Lionel Messi broke down in tears while addressing a press conference to confirm his departure from FC Barcelona after 21 years.
“The truth is I don’t want to say it, these recent days I’ve been thinking about what I could say, and the truth is that I can’t think of anything,” Messi said. “This is really difficult for me after so many years, being here my entire life. I’m not ready for this.”
“And honestly, last year, with all the nonsense with the burofax, I was convinced I knew what I wanted to say. This year, I don’t,” he added.
“This year we thought we would stay at Barcelona. Today I have to say goodbye to all of this. I’ve been here my entire life – I’ve been here since I was 13. After 13 years I am leaving with my wife, with my three Catalan kids. This is our home, and one day we will be back, I have promised my children that.
“The truth is we’re leaving. I never imagined having to say goodbye because I never thought of it. And I never thought of it this way. It’s been difficult to play in the pandemic without the people near by, without the fans cheering my name, without the fans for over a year and a half,” he said. “If I’d imagined leaving, I’d imagine it with the Camp Nou full of people and saying goodbye properly. But it was not to be.”
“The words won’t come to me. The best thing now is to answer some questions. And honestly, thank you to everyone,” finished Messi, breaking down in tears.
The press conference soon invited questions from journalists.
When asked what his best moment at the club was, Messi said: “It’s difficult to choose just one moment. But maybe the time I made my debut. That was my dream come true. Everything that came later was amazing but I’ll always remember that moment that everything started.”
Explaining what went wrong in the end, Messi said: “It’s everything that Laporte said. We had everything agreed but, at the last minute, it couldn’t happen [Messi staying at Barcelona]. I’ve heard lots of things being said about me, this year I wanted to stay and I couldn’t. Last year I didn’t want to stay, and I said it.”
“This year I wanted to stay. I did everything possible but the club couldn’t do it because of La Liga,” he added. “We have to take it and move forward.”
Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly favourites to land the Argentine superstar this summer, with Messi’s fomer Barca teammate Neymar pushing for a deal.
“[PSG] is one possibility. I had a lot of calls after the press release but nothing has been confirmed at the moment,” Messi said. “We are talking about lots of things.”
Watch the full press conference here: