Lionel Messi has confirmed he will stay at Barcelona against his wishes and hinted his desire to avoid a courtroom battle was the overriding reason behind the decision.
The superstar’s bombshell U-turn was officially announced on Friday evening, although Messi has once again doubled down on his criticism of the board and its under-fire president Josep Bartomeu.
The 33-year-old club captain announced he is finally abandoning attempts at a sensational move to Manchester City this summer in a recorded interview despite having initially demanded to leave.
Messi told Goal in an explosive admission: ‘When I communicated my wish to leave to my wife and children, it was a brutal drama. ‘The whole family began crying, my children did not want to leave Barcelona, nor did they want to change schools.
‘But I looked further afield and I want to compete at the highest level, win titles, compete in the Champions League. You can win or lose it, because it is very difficult, but you have to compete.
‘At least compete for it and let us not fall apart in Rome, Liverpool, Lisbon. All that led me to think about that decision that I wanted to carry out.’