In a farewell press conference staged at the Camp Nou, Messi had a teary and very emotional time explaining the events leading to his non-renewal of contract and exit of Barcelona FC, a club where he has spent the past 21 years of his life.
“My blood ran cold,” Messi said in his opening statements to the silent audience in front of him which included his wife and 3 children. It was a familiar podium and venue, but this time around, his message was different and more strange was the fact that it was going to be his last time on that stage. He has for many years met the press there, but either to talk about the latest title the team he was captaining just won or an individual award. But today, it was time to say bye to the entire Barcelona family.
Messi debunked rumours that he wanted more money, insisting that he was ready to accept a pay cut of up to 50% which was ready when he returned from the holidays. According to him, “The President assured me there will be a new contract, I wanted to continue here.”
He also said he has not committed to any team but confessed to “have received many calls”. The media has over the days been flooded with news that he is close to signing with French mega-weights PSG of Paris where he will reunite with former team-mate Neimar Junior. The pair were together at Barcelona before the former left in a world record deal years ago.
For now, the six time Ballon’Dior winner is club less for the first time in 21 years but is not short of suitors. Whether he will go to france and link up with the billionaire backed PSG or renew old friendship with former boss Pep Guardiola still remains elusive.
Wherever he goes, the world of football will never remain the same again. Fans were so used to seeing him in the Barcelona colours that many thought it was unthinkable for him to wear another shirt.
No matter how sweet a fairytale, it does come to an end and sadly, the Messi fairytale at Spanish giants Barcelona has come to an end. 35 titles he amassed while he was there with so many records that might never be broken.
“Goodbye Leo” is on the mouth and social media status of every Barcelona fan out there.