Lionel Messi says he has reluctantly agreed to remain at Barcelona to avoid taking on the Spanish giants in court.
In an emotional interview with Goal Spain on Friday, the club’s record scorer and most decorated player confirmed his dramatic U-turn days after serving Barca a notice that he wished to leave the club on a free transfer.
Messi believed under the terms of his contract he could walk away from Camp Nou for free as long as he served notice within 10 days of the season ending.
But the club claimed the clause expired on June 10, a stance backed by La Liga president Javier Tabas, while Messi and his representatives argued that, given the extraordinary circumstances of this season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the season officially ended on August 23 with the Champions League final.
With Messi refusing to join the rest of the squad for pre-season training, his father and agent, Jorge, Flew to Barcelona to meet with the club officials on Wednesday in a bid to end the impasse.
But Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted the only way Messi could leave was if any interested suitors activated his staggering €700 million (Dh3.039 billion) buyout clause.
While it is believed Manchester City, the front-runners to sign Messi, were guiding the 33-year-old Argentine through the process to push through with his wishes to free himself from his contract, neither party were prepared risk a legal challenge by Barca if Messi had signed a deal with the Premier League club and requested Fifa issue an international transfer certificate.