Tearful Lionel Messi confirms Barcelona departure

'I'm not ready for this' says star forward of his sadness at leaving Spanish giants

A tearful Lionel Messi has spoken for the first time about his departure from Barcelona after 20 trophy-laden years.

The Argentine superstar fronted a press conference at Camp Nou with president Joan Laporta on Sunday, where he revealed his sadness at having to leave the Spanish giants.

Messi, 34, had agreed to stay for five more years, but even with a 50 per cent pay cut Barca would have fallen foul of financial rules by keeping him.

Now he looks to be heading for French club PSG, one of the few in world football who can afford his wages.

Messi said: "The truth is don't know what to say. In recent days I have given lots of thought to what I can say and the truth is that I can't think of anything.

"This is really difficult for me after so many years being here, my entire life. I'm not ready for this.

"After 21 years I'm leaving with my three Catalan Argentine kids. We've lived in this city, this is our home. I'm just really grateful for everything, all my team-mates, everyone who has been by my side.

"I gave everything for this club from the first day I arrived to the last. I never imagined having to say goodbye as I didn't think about it.

"I love this club. Without seeing the fans for over a year and a half has been very hard.

"If I had imagined it [his leaving speech] I would've imagined the Camp Nou full and being able to say goodbye properly.

"A lot of things have gone through my head. I've still not come to terms with the reality of leaving this club now and changing my life. We need to accept it and move forward."

Updated: August 8th 2021, 11:15 AM
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