The most anticipated interview of Lionel Messi with La Sexta’s Jordi Evole was broadcast on Sunday and Messi was seen relaxed and composed enough while sharing his views with the interviewer, who was equally brilliant.
Messi exchanged about various issues, which included his family, his future, and the current state of Barcelona, joining some other clubs, and playing in the Major League Soccer (MLS) in the near future.
Messi also spoke about Luis Suarez’s Barcelona exit, former President Josep Bartomeu, the prospect of playing alongside Neymar again, and new coach Ronald Koeman.
Here are the excerpts:
I feel everything for this shirt. Barca is my life. I have been here since I was 13 years old, I have lived more in Barcelona than in Argentina and the club gave me everything as a person.
I have a love relationship with what I have lived since I arrived here. My children were born here too. For this reason, it is a difficult time for the club, as it is for everyone.
Move from Rosario to Barcelona
It was tough, my sister had problems at the time and that made my adaptation more complex.
I spoke to my father about the matter and decided that I should stay in Barcelona. I got injured soon after a game and that made things even more complicated.
Regarding exit from Barcelona
Everything that surrounds the club is becoming difficult. The club is in a really bad situation, it’s really bad and it’s hard to get back to where we were.
I told the president I wanted to leave a lot of times.
The burofax was a way of saying it officially and to mean it.
I thought that I had completed a cycle and needed a change. For my own head, I needed to get out of all of this.
I knew it was a year of transition with young players. I wanted to fight for the Champions League and for La Liga Santander.
I wanted to leave and I wanted to do it the right way.
The president started filtering things to make me look like a bad guy from a film. It was difficult to leave the club of my life, I don’t think there’s a better city than this and my family didn’t want to move.
I’d rather not comment on this now…it will come out in the future but there were plenty of things…
It was far from easy for me to say I wanted to leave the club and the city….the family wanted to stay here, this is their home but I genuinely felt it was time to go. Luis Suarez’s departure had nothing to do with the decision but I felt it was crazy the way his exit was handled and that Barcelona let him go to a direct rival.
The question over the loyalty towards the cub
Yes, that bothered me … I felt I’d completed a cycle and it was time to leave the club that had given me so much.
I wanted to win titles and battle for the Champions League and felt it was time for a change. The president then started to filter this and that to paint a negative picture of me.
On the exit of Luis Suarez
I had thought about it before Luis Suarez, but that was crazy.
He went for free to a team that is fighting for the same things as us.
On the elections
I am not sure if I’ll vote in the forthcoming presidential elections. Whoever comes in will find the club in a tricky state and will have to work hard to put the club back where it was. As yet none of the candidates have called me. Let’s wait and see what happens and I’ll make my mind up in the summer. The club is going through a tough period financially so it will be complicated to bring Neymar in.
How do you pay Paris for the transfer?
It is not easy; it will be a difficult situation for the new president. He will have to be very intelligent, get everything in order, and make any changes to make it go well.
It will also be difficult to bring in players because we need the money and there is no money. There are several important current players we need to fight again for everything and you have to pay them.”
On Neymar’s recent declaration that he wants to be Messi’s team-mate again, he added, He didn’t say, ‘Let’s play,’ he said, ‘I’d like to play’ … right?
Yes, we talk from time to time.
The three of us either with him or with Luis [Suarez] every day.
We maintain the relationship.
Relationship with Antoine Griezmann
The relationship is good, I already said it. I never had problems with him and I never did everything that was said, that I did not want his signing and all that, I think it was more than clarified.
I have no problems, the relationship is good and sometimes we drink mate together in the dressing room and on trips. There is no kind of anything.
On the 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich
It was complicated, we didn’t expect to lose in this manner and it hurt
Barcelona under Ronald Koeman
Yes, it’s difficult for him as we’re in transition …. there are new players and young talent coming through so it’s difficult too.
On Pep Guardiola
I don’t know how long my last chat with Pep Guardiola was, but we do talk. We don’t talk about whether we are going to meet again. For me Pep is the best, he has something special.
His way of preparing games was exceptional and the way that Luis Enrique worked too was excellent…. I was fortunate to work with both men.
On the privileged life
It’s true…. we do live a privileged life but I’d like at times just to be able to pop out to the market or head to the cinema but that’s impossible. Every time I leave the house with the kids, we’re aware of hundreds of eyes on us.
Playing in front of empty stadiums
It’s horrible…it’s cold …strange and different… I think that may have something to do with the strange results that we’re seeing with home advantage being less important.
On games being played twice a week
I understand that TV deals need to be adhered to but feel there is not that much consideration for the well-being of the players.
On the death of Diego Maradona
I was at home with my father and felt a wave of sadness… Diego meant so much for Argentina.
On the Newells’ shirt during the celebration
It was an old gift from the club….. I felt it was the right time to bring it out and pay my respect for Diego.
On the expression of colours politically like Maradona
No, this is something I feel better to keep to myself. I’m a football player and although I have my views, I feel it better to keep this personal.
The pressure of being called the best in the world
I just concentrate on each game and not think about the best in the world tag.
On the future and playing in MLS
I’ve always said that I’d like to experience the United States’ league. But that’s not for now.
I’m not thinking about how the season will end. It wouldn’t be good for me to say today what I’m going to do, and I don’t know either. I don’t know if I’m going to leave or not. But if I go I want to leave in the best way.
I’d like to return to live in this city and work at the club. Barcelona are much bigger than any player. I hope the president who comes in will do things well.
Nothing will be clear in my head until the end of the season. I’ll wait until the season is over.
I’m focusing on winning titles and not other things.