Messi finally broke the silence!
Hello Leo, it's great to be here with you.
Thank you for being here with us, I know these have been a difficult last few days.
The first question is an obvious one, as many have been wondering about it.
Why did it take your time to break your silence and go out to speak?
First, because after the defeat in Lisbon it was very hard.
We knew Bayern Munich was a very difficult opponent, but not that we were going to end that way, giving such a poor image for the city and the club of Barcelona.
It was wrong, I didn't feel like doing anything.
I wanted time to pass and then go out to clarify everything that had happened.
Why did you tell Barca that you could go?
I told the club, including the president, that I wanted to go.
I've been telling him that all year. He believed it was time to step aside. I believed that the club needed more young players, new ideas and I thought my time in Barcelona was over.
I felt very sorry because I always said that I wanted to finish my career here.
The truth is that it was a very difficult year, I suffered a lot in training, In games and in the dressing room. Everything became very difficult for me and there came a time when I considered looking for new ambitions.
I wanted to experience something new. It did not come because of the Champions League result against Bayern, no.
I had been thinking about the decision for a long time.
I told the president and, well, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end, he did not keep his word.
Have you ever felt lonely during this period?
No...I didn't feel alone, Not alone.
These are those who have always been by my side.
That is enough for me and strengthens me.
But I did feel hurt by things that I heard from people, from journalists, from people questioning my commitment to Barcelona and saying things that I think I didn't deserve.
It also helped me to see the truth in people.
This world of soccer is very difficult and there are many false people.
This happening has helped me to recognise many false people.
It hurt me when my love for this club was questioned.
No matter how much I go or stay, my love for Barca will never change.
Everything has been spoken of. The money factor, your friends. These are all things people have been talking about. What has hurt the most after 20 years defending the Barca shirt?
A bit of everything, my friends, money... many things that have been said has hurt. I always put the club before anything else. I had the possibility of leaving Barca many times.
The money? Every year I could have left and earned more money than in Barcelona.
I always said that this was my home, that it would be difficult for me to leave, and it was what I felt and feel.
To decide there was somewhere better than here was difficult.
I felt that I needed a change and new goals, new things.
In the end, it is very difficult to give up 20 years, a whole life, a family that is in Barcelona, a city and that is what weighs more when making a decision. Because I understand that in the end your stay in Barcelona. You are still in Barcelona...
Of course, I had a hard time deciding.
It does not come from the Bayern result, it comes from many things that have happened. I always said I wanted to end here and I always said I wanted to stay here. But also that I wanted a winning project and to win titles with the clubs, to continue expanding the legend of Barcelona at the title level.
And the truth is that there has been no project or anything for a long time, they juggle and cover holes as things go by.
As I said before, I always thought about the welfare of my family and the club.
When I communicated my wish to leave to my wife and children, it was a brutal drama.
The whole family began crying, my children did not want to leave Barcelona, nor did they want to change schools and leave their friends.
I looked further afield and I want to complete at the highest level, win titles, compete in the Champions League.
That's all I wanted to do in these last years, try to compete and try to win it.
Then you can win or lose it because it is very difficult, but you have to compete.
At least compete it and let us not fall apart like in Rome, Liverpool, Lisbon... All that led me to think about that decision that I wanted to carry out.
As I said, I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not. Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga, in the middle of this awful coronavirus and the disease altered all the season.
And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the euro 700 million clause and that this is impossible obviously.
There was another way and it was to go to trial. I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love.
which gave me everything since I arrived, it is the club of my life, I have made my life here in Barcelona. Barca gave me everything and I gave it everything.
I know that it never crossed my mind to take Barca court.
Is that what has hurt you the most in the last period?
That there are people who think you could have hurt Barca?
When you have demonstrated in all the years that you are the best player in the history of the club. You have been defending the club for years and being the flag of FC Barcelona. Has it hurt you that they doubt your commitment?
It has hurt me a lot that things are published against me and above all, that false things are published Or that they came to think that I could go to trial against Barca in order to benefit myself. I would never do such a thing.
I repeat, I wanted to go and it was entirely my right because the contract said that I could be released. And it is not 'I'm leaving and that's it'.
I was leaving and it cost me a lot.
I wanted to go because I thought about living in my last years of football happily.
Lately, I have not found happiness within the club.
That is vital, to be happy.
You are a born winner. You are in a team that fights for titles, then you can win or lose, but in recent seasons Barca has not competed in Europe.
Now you are going to continue leading the team at Barca.
But sometimes will have to change at Barca, right?
Something will have to change at the sporting level, right?
I will continue at Barca and my attitude will not 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.
I said it at the time that we were not given the support to win the Champions League.
Actually, now I don't know what will happen.
There are a new coach and new ideas. That's good, but then we have to see how the team responds and whether or not it will give us to compete at the top level.
What I can say is that I'm staying and I'm going to give my best for Barcelona.
You have spoken about many things.
There will be many who see this interview who say, 'he should have asked this' or 'he should have asked that'.
'But my next question is something many people have asked me'
'What was the first thing you thought when there were people that you could leave and that you didn't care about Barcelona? What was the first thing you thought? The feeling of rage? after all, you have given to this club?'
I felt the pain that my commitment to Barcelona was doubted, after everything we've been through in these years and with how grateful I am to this club.
I love Barcelona and I'm not going to find a better place than here anywhere.
Still, I have the right to decide if the contract and the president allowed it.
I was going to look for new goals and new challenges. And tomorrow I could go back because here in Barcelona I have everything, my son, my family, they grew up here and are from here. There was nothing wrong with wanting to leave. I needed it, the club needed it and it was good for everyone.
Family is something very important in your life.
Your father has had a bad time, your wife too, your children, what have they asked of you? What did they tell you? They must have told you 'dad, this', 'dad, that'. did they watch the news on tv and asked you something?
All this time it has been hard for everyone. I was clear about what I wanted, I have said what I felt I wanted, my wife with all the pain of her soul supported and accompanied me.
But the important member of the family is Mateo.
Yes, Mateo is still little and he doesn't realise what it means to go somewhere else and make your life a few years elsewhere. Thiago yes, he is older he heard something on tv and found out something and asked.
I didn't want him to know anything about being forced to leave, to have to live in a new school or make new friends.
He cried to me and said 'let's not go', I repeat that it was hard, really.
It was understandable. It happened to me. It is very difficult to make a decision
It would be for anyone. of course, it's 20 years, that's a lifetime.
You came to Barcelona at the age of your children now. That gets harder. There are two fundamental things that people would like to know.
The first that you will stay at Barca, you will lead the team again. Do you have a message you can send to the Barcelona fans watching this?
An optimistic message for Barca fans for the future?
As usual, I am going to give my best, we will do my best to fight for all the objectives and hopefully, I can dedicate myself to the people who have had a bad time.
I have talked about the bad time I've gone through this year, but its hypocritical to say that if you compare it with people who have really had a bad time with coronavirus, with people who have lost relatives and who have lost many things.
Hopefully, I can give my best and dedicate victories to all those people who accompany us and their families, to be able to dedicate the best to those people who are having a bad time and that we can overcome once and for all we can overcome this virus and return to normality.
Finally, a question that many people have, especially Barcelona fans, is about the famous burofax
(A burofax is a service provided by Spain's Postal Service (Correos) for sending documents where it is necessary to prove that the document was delivered and also the contents of that document).
There has been a lot of talk about Messi being badly advised why did you decide to send that burofax? What did you want to demonstrate? What was your position?
The burofax was to make it official in some way throughout the year I had been telling the president that I wanted to leave, that the time had come to seek new goals and new directions in my career.
He told me all the time: 'we'll talk, not now, this and that', but nothing. The president did not give me a clue at what he was really saying.
Sending the burofax was making it official that I wanted to go and that I was free and the optional year- I was not going to use it and I wanted to go.
It was not to make a mess or to go against the club,
but the way to make it official because my decision had been made.
So you think the if you hadn't sent the burofax, maybe everything would have been forgotten and no one would have listened to you?
Clearly. If I don't send the burofax I have an optional year I had to have continued all year.
What they say is that I did not say it before June 10, but I repeat, we were in the middle of all the competitions and it was not the moment.
But apart from that, the president always told me 'when the season is over, you decide if you stay or leave', he never set a date, and well, it was simply to make the slub official that he was not following, but not to get into a fight because I did not want to fight with the club.
Leo, it has been a pleasure and thank you for answering these questions.
The people at home had been wondering 'why isn't Leo talking', 'why isn't Leo talking', Well now you have broken the silence and spoken. We must respect social distancing but again I would like to thank you.
Thank you for everything