Lionel Messi has emphasised that he did not want to leave Barcelona at a departure press conference on Sunday.
Messi, who was in tears during the press conference monitored by The PUNCH, received a standing ovation in his final Barcelona press conference, after 21 years with the club.
He said, “These recent days I’ve been thinking, giving a lot of thought to what I can say. And the truth is that I can’t think of anything, this is really difficult for me after so many years.
“I’ve been here my entire life, I’m not ready for this. And last year with all the nonsense, I was convinced of what I wanted to say, but this year it is not the same.
“This year my family and I were convinced we were going to stay here, that is what we all wanted more than anything. We were at home, and we thought we’d be staying here in Barcelona, the time we’ve hard here and with the city and [in terms of the] football has been amazing.
“But today, I have to say goodbye to all of this.”
The Barcelona captain has been a free agent since July 1 when his contract expired.
He originally had reached agreement with Barcelona to sign a five-year contract worth 50 percent less per year.
But La Liga’s financial fair play rules, which are expected to reduce the amount Barca can spend on salaries this season by some 200 million euros ($235 million), led the Club to conclude they were unable to complete the deal.