Official: Lionel Messi backs down in transfer row with Barcelona, decides to stay

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Lionel Messi in conversation with Spanish author Ruben Uria - Photo courtesy:

In the climax of unarguably the biggest transfer saga of the year, Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has decided to stay put despite publicly admitting of his disagreements with club president Josep Bartomeu.

The revelation was made by the player himself in an exclusive sit down with representative Ruben Uria.

"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 Bartomeu is a disaster," he told the publication.

"I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not,” Messi told Goal.

“Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season.

“And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club. Now 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 (£624m/$823m) clause, and that this is impossible.”

Messi not making it a legal battle out of love for club

Messi explained that with the club not wanting to release him, the only option for him was to take the club to the court - something he said he was not prepared to do out of the love he has for Barcelona.

“There was another way and it was to go to trial," he told Goal. “I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, which gave me everything since I arrived.

“It is the club of my life, I have made my life here.

“Barca gave me everything and I gave it everything. I know that it never crossed my mind to take Barca to court.”

'8-2 wasn't the reason'

Messi pinpointed the exact reason why he wanted to leave the club, denying that the 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich last month triggered it.

“I told the club, including the president, that I wanted to go. I've been telling him that all year. I believed it was time to step aside,” he said.

“I believed that the club needed more young players, new players and I thought my time in Barcelona was over. I felt very sorry because I always said that I wanted to finish my career here.

“It was a very difficult year, I suffered a lot in training, in games and in the dressing room. Everything became very difficult for me and there came a time when I considered looking for new ambitions.

“It did not come because of the Champions League result against Bayern, no – I had been thinking about the decision for a long time.

“I told the president and, well, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he did not keep his word.”

While the Argentine has decided to stay for the last year of his deal, it remains to be seen if he would also sign an extension, if Bartomeu gets replaced in club elections.

Official: Lionel Messi backs down in row with Barcelona, decides to stay