Lionel Messi gave a press conference on Sunday evening to discuss his Barcelona exit and to say it was emotional would be an understatement.
Messi burst into tears before he even started speaking.
He then struggled to get his words out in a moving speech.
“The truth is I don’t want to say it, these recent days I’ve been thinking about what I could say, and the truth is that I can’t think of anything,” he said, per the Mirror.
“This is really difficult for me after so many years, being here my entire life. I’m not ready for this.
Watch Messi burst into tears at the start of the press conference below:
“And honestly, last year, with all the nonsense with the burofax, I was convinced I knew what I wanted to say. This year, I don’t.
“This year we thought we would stay at Barcelona. Today I have to say goodbye to all of this. I’ve been here my entire life – I’ve been here since I was 13.
“After 13 years I am leaving with my wife, with my three Catalan kids. This is our home, and one day we will be back, I have promised my children that.
Watch Messi receive a standing ovation for two minutes below:
“The truth is we’re leaving. I never imagined having to say goodbye because I never thought of it. And I never thought of it this way.
“It’s been difficult to play in the pandemic without the people near by, without the fans cheering my name, without the fans for over a year and a half.
“If I’d imagined leaving, I’d imagine it with the Camp Nou full of people and saying goodbye properly. But it was not to be.”
He added that he had an agreement with Barcelona but La Liga prevented the move happening.
“My new contract was done. All done. I wanted to stay and when I came back from holidays, it was done. … At the last minute with everything with La Liga, it couldn’t happen,” he explained, per Bleacher Report.
The Argentine revealed that he offered to reduce his salary by 50%.
“The news about Barça and Laporta asking me for a 30% salary reduction on Thursday is absolutely fake. It’s a lie. I offered to reduce my contract by 50%, and then they didn’t ask me for anything else”, her said, per Fabrizio Romano.
Messi was also asked about a potential move to Paris Saint-Germain but he refused to confirm whether he will move to the French giants.
“Paris Saint-Germain is a possibility, yes. At the moment nothing is confirmed, I received lot of calls after Barcelona statement. We’re talking about it,” he said, per Fabrizio Romano.
Watch the full press conference below: (begins at 2:53)
What a tear-jerker that was. It marks the end of what was a truly extraordinary era.