Barcelona hailed Lionel Messi’s decision to remain at the club on Friday.
Messi said he had been forced to stay because president Josep Maria Bartomeu would not let him exercise a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave for free.
However, Barcelona highlighted Messi’s pledge to give his all for the team by posting a picture of the striker on Instagram in the club’s new kit, with the caption: “I’m going to give my best. My love for Barça will never change”.
Messi had, for a while at least, believed he could walk away from Barcelona on a free transfer by exercising a clause in his contract which stipulated he could leave at the end of every season without a single euro being paid to the club.
Even though the deadline to exercise the clause has passed, Messi’s lawyers believe Barcelona should honour it as the season had to be extended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, La Liga has bolstered Barcelona’s stance, with the club insisting the clause has expired and the only way Messi will be allowed to leave is if his €700m release clause is paid in full.
But Messi’s father and agent Jorge insisted Barcelona’s €700m release clause is “not applicable at all” and his son should be able to leave the club for free.
Messi told Goal, “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.”
The footballer said on Friday he will stay at Barcelona, insisting he could never go to court against “the club of his life”.
Messi had said he wanted to leave the club he joined as a boy after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in August.