Lionel Messi is currently hosting a press conference at Nou Camp on his exit from Barcelona after over 20 years at the club.
But the Barcelona superstar was emotional and tried to fight back tears at the start of the conference.
“This is really difficult for me after so many years, having been here for all my life. I am not ready for this,” says Messi.
MESSI: I WANTED TO STAY
Messi is making clear that he wanted to stay at Barcelona this summer.
“We were at home, we thought we would be staying at Barcelona…it is what we wanted,” says an emotional Messi. “Today, l have to say goodbye.”
AN EMOTIONAL MESSI SAYS GOODBYE
“These recent days I’ve been thinking, giving a lot 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.
“I’ve been here my entire life, I’m not ready for this. And last year with all the nonsense, I was convinced of what I wanted to say, but this year it is not the same.
“This year my family and I were convinced we were going to stay here, that is what we all wanted more than anything. We were at home, and we thought we’d be staying here in Barcelona, the time we’ve hard here and with the city and [in terms of the] football has been amazing.
“But today, I have to say goodbye to all of this.”
MESSI: BARCELONA IS MY HOME, ME AND MY FAMILY WILL BE BACK
“I’ve been here since I was 13. After 21 years I am leaving with my wife and three little Catalan-Argentine kids, and I can’t tell you everything.
“I can tell you in a few years we want to come back because this is my home.
“I am just really grateful to my team-mates and former team-mates, everyone that has been by my side. There are so many people.
“For this club I have so much respect. So many beautiful things have happened. Also some bad things, but all this helped me to grow and improve and make me the person I am today.
“I gave everything for this shirt from the first day until the very last. The truth is that I am leaving.
“I would love to be able to go in a different way. I never imagined it this way. I didn’t think I would have to say goodbye.
“I imagined it with the team on the pitch, the last cheers. We have been playing without fans and it has been difficult not to hear them. And now I have to leave without seeing the fans for a year and a half.
“If I had imagined it, it would have been with all the fans.
“I hope I can come back and be part of this club again in any way and help it become the best in the world.”
MESSI THANKS BARCA FANS
“We’ve not been able to play in public this last year because of the pandemic and it’s been difficult not to hear their cheers, not to have them nearby, not to hear them shouting my name.
“I leave this club now without seeing the fans for over a year and a half. If I imagine it, I would have imagined the Nou Camp being full and being able to say goodbye properly.
“But it has to be this way, and I’m so grateful for all the love that everyone has shown me because I’ve had some such great moments here over the years, some bad ones too but the love people have shown me has always been the same.”