- August 8, 2021
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Video: Lionel Messi Cries As He Officially Bids Farewell To FC Barcelona
Lionel Messi was in tears as he bade farewell to FC Barcelona – but said he has not yet decided on his future.
“I’m so grateful for the love people have shown me these years,” he told a news conference.
The striker, who broke down as he received a standing ovation, said he tried to “behave with humility and respect, and I hope that’s the memory that will be left of me”.
Messi, 34, has spent his entire career at Barcelona, coming through the club’s academy before going on to score 672 goals in 778 appearances after making his senior debut in 2003.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has officially been a free agent since 1 July after he failed to agree terms over a renewal before his previous Barcelona contract expired on 30 June.
The club announced Messi was set to leave as a new contract couldn’t happen in line with financial fair play rules set by the Spanish league La Liga.
Messi has been linked to a move to PSG, but he said he had not made up his mind about his future.
He said he hasn’t confirmed with anyone since many clubs are interested.
“This year, my family and I were convinced we were going to stay at home, that’s what we all wanted more than anything,” he said.
“We’d always made this our own, we were at home. We thought we would be staying here in Barcelona. But today, we have to say goodbye to all of this.”
Messi, who has been heavily linked with a move to PSG, had been set to remain at the Nou Camp but is now a free agent.
He added: “I did everything possible and the club, Laporta, they couldn’t do it because of LaLiga.
“I’ve heard things said about me, that I didn’t want to continue, but in my life, we did everything we could because I wanted to stay.
“Last year, I didn’t want to stay and I said it; this year, I wanted to stay and we couldn’t.”