After spending 21 years at Barcelona, 17 of those breaking records in the club’s first team, not to mention scoring 672 goals in 778 games, Lionel Messi is holding a news conference to bid farewell to Camp Nou.
The 34-year-old Argentine superstar makes his first public appearance since the club announced he would be leaving.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner, who made his way through the club’s esteemed La Masia academy to become the greatest player of his generation, possibly ever, parts ways with the club after contract talks fell through due to “financial and structural obstacles”.
Now Messi breaks his silence on the matter, ahead of a likely move to Paris Saint-Germain, where he will reunite with close friend Neymar, and team up with ex-Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, as well as long-time rival Sergio Ramos.
The announcement of his Barcelona exit has stunned world football. Now, the man himself has his say.
Asked could he have not stayed for less?
“The talks stopped as Barca did not want to go on, they knew La Liga would not let it happen, it was impossible.
“As the president explained, the club have debt and we couldn’t do it. I need to be focussed on my career.”
Could you have taken control of the situation?
“Like I said before, I did everything I could to stay. There is nothing else to say.”
He said: “This is really difficult for me after so many years, being here my entire life. I’m not ready for this. This year, my family were convinced we were going to stay here at home.
“Well, today I have to say goodbye to all of this. I’ve been here so many years, since I was 13. After 21 years, I’m leaving with my wife, with my three little Catalan-Argentine kids.