Messi leaves Barcelona: The best quotes from Leo's parting news conference

By Sports Desk August 08, 2021

Lionel Messi is leaving Barcelona. The 34-year-old superstar was expected to sign a new contract, but financial restrictions mean his 21-year stint at the club is coming to an end.

Messi, who has been a free agent since the end of June, is now set for pastures new, with Paris Saint-Germain seemingly his destination.

But before potentially linking up with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Sergio Ramos and the rest of Mauricio Pochettino's star-studded squad, Messi held a farewell news conference in Barcelona.

He was in tears as he took to the stage in front of the media, his family, club officials and his Barca team-mates, who all gave the six-time Ballon d'Or winner a standing ovation.

Here are the best quotes from Messi's Barca goodbye.

The opening statement...

"These recent days I've been giving lots of thought to what I could 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 and honestly last year with all the nonsense with the burofax I was convinced I knew what I wanted to say but this year is not the same.

On making Barcelona his home...

"My family and I were convinced I wanted to stay here, that's what we all wanted more than anything. We thought we'd be staying here in Barcelona, today I have to say goodbye to all of this. I've been here so many years, my entire life since I was 13. After 21 years I'm leaving with my wife, my three little Catalan-Argentine kids, and I can't tell you we won't come back because this is my home, and I promised my children that.

His final farewell...

"I gave everything for this club for this shirt. I'm so grateful for the care that people have shown me. I've never imagined having to say goodbye because I never thought of it. I never imagined it this way. I imagined it with people in this pitch. I leave this club without seeing the fans for a year and a half. If I'd imagined it I'd imagined it with the Camp Nou full and being able to say goodbye properly."

On his favourite Barca memory...

"It is really difficult to choose just one moment. A lot of things I've lived, good things and bad things. Maybe the time when I made my debut. That was my dream come true and everything that came later was amazing, but I'll always remember that moment that everything started."

Where to next?

"When the press release was published, I had a lot of calls, a lot of clubs that were interested. At the minute, I've not got anything closed but we're talking about a lot of things."

Facing Barca with his next club?

"The people in Barca know me, they know I'm a good player and they know I like competing. If I'm going to come here, then like I did here I'll fight to win everything. The last years of my career I'll finish it in my way, competing and fighting for titles, ending my career on a high."

On doing everything to stay...

"What's clear is that I did everything possible, they couldn't do it because of LaLiga. We did everything we could because I wanted to stay. Last year, I didn't want to stay and I said it. This year, I wanted to stay and I couldn't. Everything was arranged with Laporta and the club, but it wasn't possible in the end and that's all there is to it.  A lot was said and from my part, I wanted to stay as well, but it just couldn't be done because of things to do with LaLiga."

On media speculation...

"I offered to reduce my contract, my salary by 50 per cent and they didn't ask for anything else. The news that I asked for 30 per cent more is a lie. I did everything possible, we did everything possible. A lot of what people are saying is not true and like I said, I did everything."

How will Barca look post-Messi?

"Barcelona is one of the best teams in the world, they have an amazing line-up. A lot of players will come and go, and like [club president] Joan Laporta said, this club is more important than any one person. People will get used to it, at first it will be weird but like everything, people will get used to it. They have great players, a great squad and in the end, it will be easy for them."

Any regrets?

"I would have liked to have won another Champions League. We got to the semi-final [in 2019] and were knocked out by Liverpool. That's football. But I don't regret anything. I tried to give my best, sometimes it works out for the better or worst. I'm of the opinion we could have won more, but I achieved my objectives. It's always nice to win more titles but I'm ending my career here with all these titles."

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