Lionel Messi has revealed that he wanted to quit Barcelona when he was embroiled in a tax row with the Spanish government, adding that it was a lack of offers from other clubs that stopped him from leaving the Camp Nou outfit in 2017.
In case you didn’t know…
Messi was found guilty of defrauding Spain’s tax authorities of €4.1 million between 2007 and 2009 and was initially given a 21-month prison sentence for the crime. However, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was ultimately permitted to pay a fine of €252,000 as punishment.
The 32-year-old forward has spent 16 successful years with the Blaugrana, during which he won ten La Liga titles, four Champions League tropies, six Copa del Reys, eight Spanish Super Cups and three UEFA Super Cups.
The Argentina international has netted a staggering 604 goals and registered 253 assists in 692 appearances for the Catalan giants so far, establishing himself as one of the greatest players of modern football.
The heart of the matter
Messi, who has been lauded for being a one-club man for over a decade, has now admitted that he wanted to leave Barcelona back in the summer of 2017, but a lack of offers stopped him from doing so.
Speaking in an interview with RAC1, he said, via Daily Mail,
“At that time, with the mess of the treasury, I wanted to leave, not for wanting to leave Barca but wanting to leave Spain.
“I felt that I was being very mistreated and I didn’t want to stay here. I never had an official offer because because everyone knew my idea to stay here.
“It was very difficult for me and my family because people don’t know much about what’s going on.
“The truth is that it was hard for everything that happened but it is better that my children were small and did not know.”