Speaking in an exclusive interview with Goal, Lionel Messi revealed why he wanted to leave Barcelona.

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. But I looked further afield and I want to compete at the highest level, win titles, compete in the Champions League. You can win or lose it because it is very difficult, but you have to compete. At least compete for it and let us not fall apart in Rome, Liverpool, Lisbon. All that led me to think about that decision that I wanted to carry out.”

However, that ambition to accept a new challenge was prevented by Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, whom Messi claims denied him the opportunity to leave.

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 this disease altered all the season. And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700 million clause and that this is impossible.”

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner would have had to have taken Barcelona to court if he wanted to push a transfer through.

There was another way and it was to go to trial. I would never go to court against Barça 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. Barça gave me everything and I gave it everything. I know that it never crossed my mind to take Barça to court.”