Barca fans can rejoice for now. After much deliberation, Argentinian star Lionel Messi decided to stay at Barcelona for one more year.
He said that he is staying because it is “impossible” for any team to pay his release clause and he does not want to face “the club I love” in court.
But he launched a stinging attack on Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu, whom he accused of going back on an agreement to let him leave for free at the end of last season. “The president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he didn’t end up keeping his word,” Messi said in an interview with a sports portal on September 6.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 4, 2020
The star wanted to go, but ultimately was not allowed. Barcelona stood firm and said any team that wanted him to pay a 700 million release clause, that, particularly after the economic devastation caused by the pandemic, no one can pay.
Messi had said he wanted to leave the club he joined as a boy after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter finals in August.
Barcelona are hoping Messi does what Neymar did at Paris Saint- Germain: stay one more year, continue to perform, and in the end change his mind about leaving.
Neymar almost returned to Barcelona last season, when he made it clear that he was intent on leaving Paris. However, PSG turned down Barcelona’s offers and the Brazilian reluctantly stayed on for one more year