·7 June 2023
·7 June 2023
Lionel Messi has admitted that he 'really wanted' to re-join Barcelona from Paris Saint-Germain this summer, but refused to be dragged into a saga in which the decision could have been taken away from him as a result of the club’s ongoing financial struggles.
The only reason Messi left Camp Nou at all in 2021 was because did not have the spending power to register his agreed contract.
"[I was] very excited to be able to return, but, on the other hand, after having experienced what I experienced and the exit I had [in 2021], I did not want to be in the same situation again: wait to see what would happen and leave my future in someone else's hands, so to speak.
"I wanted to make my own decision, thinking about myself, about my family. Although I heard it was said LaLiga had accepted that everything was fine for me to return, there were still many other things that had to be done. I heard that [Barcelona] had to sell players or lower player salaries and the truth is that I didn't want to go through that."
Already a 'bit tired', Messi added that La Liga had initially accepted things first time round in 2021 but it still proved to not be possible, which ended up with the player and his family in limbo in a Paris hotel.
"I wanted to make my own decision and that's why it was a bit that I didn't turn to Barça. Although I would have loved it, it couldn't [happen]."
He also explained that it wasn't a question of the money that was offered.
"We never even got to talk about the contract," he said. "A proposal was passed over, but never a formal, written, signed proposal, because there was still nothing. There was the intention, but we couldn't advance anything, we didn't even talk about money formally.
"If it had been a matter of money I would have gone to Saudi Arabia or elsewhere. It seemed like a lot of money to me and the truth is that my decision was for the other side and not for money."
Barcelona president Joan Laporta had been particularly vocal about re-signing Messi in recent months. But while there were regular conversations with coach and former teammate Xavi, talks with Laporta happened 'once or twice at most'.
Asked if he thought Barcelona had done everything possible to bring him back, 35-year-old replied: "It is their issue. Many things were missing. The club, today, was not in a position to confirm 100% that I could return."
The point has already been raised that Messi could yet play for Barcelona again in the way that David Beckham, who is part-owner of Inter Miami, twice joined AC Milan on loan from LA Galaxy during MLS off-seasons. Some kind of ambassadorial role or secretary role was also put to him in the interview.
Messi confirmed he would 'like to be close to the club' and will base his permanent family home in the city he has lived for more than half his life in retirement.
"I don't know when, but hopefully one day I can contribute something to the club and help because it is a club that I love as I always said. I appreciate the love I had from people during my career and I would like to be here again, yes," he explained.
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