The superstar’s bombshell U-turn was officially announced on Friday evening, although Messi has once again doubled down on his criticism of the board and suggested his desire to avoid a legal battle forced his hand.
The 33-year-old club captain announced he is finally abandoning attempts at a move to Manchester City this summer in a recorded interview despite having initially demanded to leave.
Lionel Messi has confirmed he will remain at Barcelona due to his desire to avoid a legal battle
Jorge Messi had refuted claims from Barca that his son has a €700m release clause in his deal
He also slammed LaLiga for getting involved in the saga and insisting a fee must be paid
Messi told Goal in an explosive admission: ‘I wasn’t happy and I wanted to leave. I have not been allowed this in any way and I will stay at the club so as not to get into a legal dispute. The management of the club led by (Josep) Bartomeu is a disaster.
‘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, nor did they want to change schools.
‘But I looked further afield and I want to compete at the highest level, win titles, compete in the Champions League. You can win or lose in it, because it is very difficult, but you have to compete.
‘At least compete for it and let us not fall apart in Rome, Liverpool, Lisbon. All that led me to think about that decision that I wanted to carry out.’
Messi told the club he wanted to leave last month after growing tired of the club’s leadership.
He had appeared to be willing to fight on when his father issued a statement reiterating his claim that he does not have a €700m release clause.
Messi’s father Jorge issued the statement on Friday that appears to quote directly from his contract stating: ‘The release clause will not apply when the unilateral resolution of the contract comes into effect after the end of the 2019-20 season.’
The statement also slammed La Liga for wading in on the debate last week and claiming Barcelona were right to demand €700m from anyone who wanted to sign Barcelona’s captain.
‘We don’t know what contract they have analysed,’ it said. Also condemning their ‘obvious lack of impartiality’ in the matter.
But the statement from Messi’s father appears to have been the last shot fired before the white flag was raised.
Not having a release clause could have drastically changed things for Manchester City if the Barcelona captain had been prepared to rip up his contract and let a tribunal decide his transfer fee.
But La Liga responded immediately reiterating their position and accusing the Messi statement of having taken the clause quoted from his contract out of context.
La Liga put its weight behind Barcelona’s claim Messi was under contract for one more year and with a €700m buy-out clause, with a statement issued August 30.
The statement said: ‘The contract is currently in force and has a release clause applicable in the event that Messi decides to unilaterally terminate it.’
La Liga’s statement also threatened to block his move away although that would be beyond its juristition if Messi moved from Spain to England.