Lionel Messi Reveals How His Son Reacted When He Told Him He Wanted To Leave FC Barcelona
Lionel Messi's son cried when he told him he had decided to leave Barcelona.
But he was genuinely serious about leaving and told president Josep Maria Bartomeu on a number of occasions after having the idea of a departure in his head for a year.
Informing his eldest son Thiago of his decision brought tears and a plea for the family to not leave their home in Catalonia.
Speaking in an exclusive interview to Goal, he said: "All this time it has been hard for everyone. He was clear about what he wanted, he had assumed it and said it.
"My wife, with all the pain of her soul, supported and accompanied me.
"Yes, Mateo is still young and he doesn't realize what it means to go somewhere else and make your life for a few years elsewhere.
"Thiago yes, he is bigger. He heard something on TV and found out something and asked. I didn't want him to know anything about being able to leave, having 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."
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Clearly not a decision that he took lightly, Messi sent through a burofax to tell Barcelona his wish to end his stay at the Nou Camp - though the two had conflicting views in relation to the clause in his contract.
Explaining why he sent the document, Messi added: "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.
"If I don't send the burofax, it's like nothing happens, I have the 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 it official that I wouldn't continue, but not to start a fight because I didn't want to fight against the club."
Though he is now expected to return to training and continue as normal, the 33-year old is evidently still unhappy with the predicament the club find themselves in.
He stated: "I always said I wanted to end here and I always said I wanted to stay here. That I wanted a winning project and to win titles with the club, to continue expanding the legend of Barcelona.
"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."