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I'm Not Ready for This: Emotional Lionel Messi Bids Farewell to Barcelona

Lionel Messi bid farewell to FC Barcelona after being at the club for over two decades and winning 35 trophies.

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Football
4 min read
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A tearful Lionel Messi bid farewell to FC Barcelona on Sunday at the Nou Camp. The club, on Thursday, confirmed they could not re-sign Messi due to their financial problems and also blaming La Liga’s regulations for the decision.

“The truth is don't know what to say. In recent days I have given lots 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 being here, my entire life. I'm not ready for this,” Messi said at his farewell press conference.

“Honestly last year with all the nonsense with the Burofax I was convinced I knew what I wanted say, but this year is not the same. This year my family and I were convinced we were going to stay here at home, it’s what we wanted more than anything.”
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"After 21 years I'm leaving with my three Catalan Argentine kids. We've lived in this city, this is our home. I'm just really grateful for everything, all my team-mates, everyone who has been by my side.

"It was like my blood ran cold, I was really sad, it was really difficult right up to now. I'm still trying to process it all."

The current Barcelona squad and some former player, along with Messi’s family were present at the auditorium, which also had on display all the trophies (35) the Argentine had won in his career at the club. Messi's contract ran out on 30 June and he has been a free agent since.

"I gave everything for this club from the first day I arrived to the last. I never imagined having to say goodbye as I didn't think about it."

"I tried to behave with humility and respect and I hope that is what remains of me when I leave the club."

The maestro, who was weeping uncontrollably during the press conference, wished that he could have said farewell in a different manner.

"I love this club. Without seeing the fans for over a year and a half has been very hard. If I had imagined it [his leaving speech] I would've imagined the Camp Nou full and being able to say goodbye properly."

"I've still not come to terms with the reality of leaving this club now and changing my life.

"We need to accept it and move forward."

PSG is An Option

While there is still no confirmation about his next destination, Messi said that playing with Paris Saint Germain is an option, where he would then reunite with Neymar and team up with one time bitter rival Sergio Ramos.

"It (joining PSG) is a possibility, but I have not agreed anything with anyone," he said. "I have got different clubs interested. Nothing is definitive but clearly we are talking to them."

"I've had nothing confirmed with anyone. When the press release went out I had a lot of calls and we are talking about a lot of things. This is the end with this club and now a new story will begin. Yes, it's one of the most difficult moments for me.

Messi, who won his first major international trophy with Argentina earlier in the summer when they beat Brazil in the Copa America final, is reportedly going to undergo his medical tests in Paris between Sunday and Monday, after which will complete the deal with the Qatar Sports Investment owned Paris Saint Germain.

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Barcelona in Debt and La Liga Rules

The Argentine, for whom Barcelona has been the only professional home up until now, said that the club and he tried everything possible to continue the relationship, but could not because of the club debt.

"As the president said, the club has got a big debt, they can't do it, it's not possible [to stay]. To keep drawing it out would make it more complicated. I need to focus on my career and what I need to do from now on. I did everything I could to stay and it was not possible to stay."

"What's clear is I did everything possible, and they (Barca) couldn't do it because of La Liga. A lot of things have been said about me, but on my behalf we did everything I could because I wanted to stay. Last year I didn't want to stay and I said it. This year I did and I couldn't."

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Offered to Half Salary

As the questions poured in during the iconic press conference at the Nou Camp, Messi explained that he accepted a hefty pay cut and talk about him asking for higher wages were not true. He also said he would have definitely wanted to win one more Champions League at Barcelona.

"I would've liked to have won another Champions League, I have the opinion we could've got one more. I don't regret anything, I've tried to give my best. I'm ending my career here with a good amount of titles. I offered to reduce my salary by 50%, but they didn't ask me for anything else. The news I asked for 30% more is a lie, a lot of things people are saying is not true."

"I'm not going to speak bad of anyone, I've always been up front, I've not lied at all, been completely transparent but the problem is when you don't speak they say a lot of things. What I cared most about, was telling the truth. Together we have grown and enjoyed all these years together."

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