“I am going to continue at Barça and my attitude is not going to change no matter how much I wanted to go. I will do my best. I always want to win, I’m competitive and I don’t like to lose anything. I always want the best for the club, for the dressing room and for myself.”
These were the words of Lionel Messi when he conducted an honest interview with Goal earlier this month following his decision to stay at Barcelona.
The Argentine admitted he *did* want to leave the club and was unhappy with the current situation at Camp Nou, but was not prepared to drag Barça into a legal battle in order to force a move elsewhere.
Still, there’s every chance that Messi will leave the Catalan giants next summer.
As things stand, the 33-year-old will be able to enter negotiations with other clubs from January, unless he signs a new contract with his current employers.
Messi has now played two games since the U-turn over his future: a 3-1 friendly victory over Girona and a 1-0 win against Elche on Saturday in the annual Joan Gamper Trophy.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was in scintillating form in both matches.
Starting with this weekend’s game against Elche, Messi produced a magnificent ‘pre-assist’ for Antoine Griezmann’s second-minute goal, picking out Jordi Alba with a typical world-class pass.
Watch it here…
Messi also produced another magical moment in the second half, dispossessing an opponent before skipping another with a beautiful touch and finding Ousmane Dembele with another outstanding pass…
Even though he’s not 100 per cent happy, Messi is still the best.
And against Girona three days earlier, Messi provided another exquisite pre-assist for Philippe Coutinho’s goal…
And then rifled in a right-footed strike from distance…
If this is to be his final season at Barça, Messi seems intent on going out with a bang.
"I won’t get into any conflict with him. He’s our captain and the leader of our team," Barcelona present Josep Maria Bartomeu told Catalan television network TV3, per The Mirror, this weekend.
"I couldn’t let him leave the club, he is the best player of all time and the team needs him. Having Messi is a guarantee of success.
"We have seen him do his talking on the pitch and we have moved on from the saga. We should congratulate ourselves for getting Messi to stay with us and for how he has behaved in the last few days. The best player in the world should stay at our home."
- Barcelona's third in world in terms of team value
- Neymar's Puma contract smashes Ronaldo and Messi's deals
- Sancho and Haaland's scary pace for Dortmund counter-attack