A tearful Lionel Messi confirmed on Sunday he was leaving FC Barcelona after the club said it could no longer afford to pay his high wages without jeopardizing its future.
Spanish football league La Liga would not allow Messi to renew his contract with the team, the Argentinian star player told reporters at a news conference in Barcelona’s Camp Nou.
Messi added that he did everything he could to try to stay at the team, which he never imagined he would leave.
He is now in talks with French team Paris Saint Germain, although nothing has been confirmed and he has not made up his mind about the future of his career.
“I tried to behave with humility and respect, and I hope that is the memory that will be left of me,” Messi said.
The team’s official Twitter account posted a clip of the press conference after it had finished, writing: “When Messi cries, we all cry.”
When Messi cries, we all cry.— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 8, 2021
Big hug. ❤️ u Leo. pic.twitter.com/wAHhzWrkP3
The 34-year-old footballing great has been with the Spanish team for his entire professional career.
He became FC Barcelona’s top scorer with 682 goals over his 21-year stint at the club.
Messi broke down in tears before giving his speech and was greeted by a lengthy standing ovation from the media, current and former team mates and coaches in attendance.