MX23RW : Thursday, October 10 08:54:47| >> :120:68381:68381:

Lionel Messi reveals he wanted to leave Barcelona

Lionel Messi reveals he wanted to leave Barcelona
© Reuters
The Argentina international was found guilty of defrauding the authorities of £3.6million between 2007 and 2009.

Lionel Messi plans to end his career at Barcelona despite admitting he wanted to quit the club and the country in the wake of his tax bill row with the Spanish government.

The Argentina international was found guilty of defrauding the authorities of £3.6million between 2007 and 2009 and, despite having made a corrective payment of £4.4m in 2013, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, which was reduced to a fine of £223,000 in 2017.

It almost forced Messi out of the club he joined in 2001 as a 13-year-old.

"In 2013/14 I did want to leave Barca. There was a situation that went beyond what I felt for the club," he told Rac 1 Radio.

"At that time, with the mess of the treasury, I wanted to leave, not wanting to leave Barca but wanting to leave Spain. I felt mistreated."

There would have been no shortage of suitors had he gone through with his intention but Messi accepts no-one actually considered he was serious.

"I never had an official offer because everyone knew my idea to stay here," he added.

With the issue now in the past the 32-year-old Messi is looking to the future but dismissed the notion he would want to return to his homeland to end his playing days at boyhood club Newell's Old Boys.

Instead he is putting his family first.

"Yes, my idea is to stay for many years. I've always thought this way and nothing has changed," he added.

— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 9, 2019

"I don't think that there is anything new to report regarding my contract extension, but there will surely be no problem if it materialises. With the club, everything is always simple.

"It's clear that my idea is to finish my career at Barca. Especially because of what I feel for the club and for my family. We are very happy in Barcelona.

"From my childhood I have dreamed of playing for Newell's because of what football means in Argentina, but sometimes one has to prioritise the family.

"I wouldn't like to break up the friendships that my children have made here, as happened to me when I was little."

Barca were stunned by Liverpool in the Champions League last season
Barca were stunned by Liverpool in the Champions League last season (Peter Byrne/PA)

Messi has set his sights on winning the Champions League having come so close last season.

But Liverpool's remarkable turnaround at Anfield, recovering from a 3-0 first-leg defeat to win 4-0, still rankles and Messi admits the players were to blame and not manager Ernesto Valverde.

"The defeat at Liverpool was the players' fault. We froze and the memory of Rome (when they lost 3-0 the previous season after a 3-1 home first-leg quarter-final win) came into our heads. It was nothing to do with Valverde."

body check tags ::

Click here for more stories about Lionel Messi

Click here for more stories about Barcelona

Share this article now:
Instagram - Follow Sports Mole
Philippe Coutinho in action for Bayern Munich on October 5, 2019
Read Next:
Liverpool to miss out on £80m of Coutinho fee?

2Manchester CityMan City85122791816
4Leicester CityLeicester8422147714
6Crystal Palace842288014
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham83321111012
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs83231412211
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves82421111010
12Manchester UnitedMan Utd82339819
13Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd82337709
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8233810-29
15Aston Villa8224131218
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8224513-88
19Norwich CityNorwich82061021-116

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!