Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has opened up about the toll the last few weeks have taken on his family as he prepared to leave the club.
The Argentine forward has now confirmed he will stay at the Nou Camp, but revealed he has been considering an exit away from the club for some time.
Last month, Messi made his wish to leave Barcelona official and informed the club. He handed in a transfer request in which he expressed a desire to exercise a clause in his contract, which allows him to leave for free.
But Barca have insisted that the clause expired in June, and have said he will not be allowed to leave for less than his €700m release clause.
Now Lionel Messi – who was wanted by Manchester City – has now admitted defeat in his bid to leave Barcelona.
Regarding the impact it has had on his family, Lionel Messi told Goal: “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, 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.
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“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.
“I love Barcelona and I’m not going to find a better place than here anywhere. Still, I have the right to decide.
“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.
“My wife, with all the pain of her soul, supported and accompanied me.”