Lionel Messi

'Bartomeu didn't keep his promise' - Messi confirms reluctant Barca stay

The Argentine has performed a u-turn and will now remain at the Camp Nou for another year after showdown talks

 
5:03pm on Friday 4th September 2020
By
Martin Macdonald

Lionel Messi will remain a Barcelona player for the 2020/21 season, the Argentine has announced in an explosive interview which is heavily critical of club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Messi sent shockwaves through European football when he sent a burofax - a form of secure communication - to Barcelona requesting the termination of his contract, allowing him to leave the club on a free transfer.

Barca, with the support of La Liga, informed the six-time Ballon d'Or winner that he would only be allowed to leave the club should his €700m release clause be triggered.

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Messi previously had a clause inserted in his contract allowing him to leave for free during this summer - a clause which Barca claim expired at the end of May.

However, the player and his camp have argued that, because the season was extended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the clause remained valid. Messi's agent and father, Jorge, also sent a letter to La Liga on Friday saying that the €700m release clause was no longer "applicable".

Despite requesting to leave, Messi was keen to avoid a bitter parting of the ways with the Blaugrana, who he has been associated with for 20 years since moving from Argentina at just 13. As such, a legal wrangle was off the table for him.

Messi told Goal.com on Friday: “There was another way and it was to go to trial.

"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.”

Messi also pointed the finger at Bartomeu, adding that he believes that he was free to leave at the end of the season and that the coronavirus disruption impacted the timing of the original clause.

He added: “I thought and was sure that I was free to leave. Bartomeu told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700M clause - that's impossible. But at the end of the season, the same Bartomeu said it was 'my decision'.

"He didn't kept his promise. 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."

READ MORE on how the Messi saga developed:

Jorge Messi tells La Liga that €700m clause has expired and that his son is free to leave

Griezmann on Messi saga: 'It's between him and the club'

Messi could actually stay at Barca, admits father

La Liga statement confirms Messi's €700m release clause is active

The confusion over Lionel Messi's contract clause, explained

More people search for Messi than coronavirus this week

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