Lionel Messi said he will remain at Barcelona next season after performing a shock U-turn on his future.
Messi had believed that a clause in his contract would allow him to leave for free this summer, but Barcelona and La Liga insist that his 700 million euro release clause would need to be paid in full.
“I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not,” Messi told Goal.
“Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season.
“And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the 700 million euro clause, and that this is impossible.”
Messi’s father and agent Jorge wrote to La Liga on Friday insisting his son is contractually allowed to leave Barcelona for free in the current transfer window.
However, La Liga responded with a statement shortly after Messi’s declaration, reiterating its stance that the 700 million euro release clause remains valid.
Messi says he has never considered taking the matter to trial in order to force an exit from the club where he has spent the entirety of his professional career.