No other player has made as many appearances for Barcelona’s first team (778) or scored as many goals for the Blaugrana – or in fact for any club in the history of the game (672) – as Lionel Messi. Both of those records look set to stand for a while yet and Messi’s goals record may never be broken.
The scene right now outside Camp Nou: pic.twitter.com/ecF6ZMdPbM
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 8, 2021
The Argentinean is also the all-time top scorer in the history of LaLiga with 474 goals. To put that into perspective, the next player in the ranking is Cristiano Ronaldo on 311. He also holds the record for the most hat tricks in LaLiga – 36; in total, he has bagged an eye-watering 54 hat tricks for Barça since celebrating his first one in March 2007 and his last one, against Eibar in February 2020.
Now, the time has come to leave the club after spending twenty-one years.
Messi confirmed that in the press conference today.
Here are the excerpts:
“This is very difficult for me after so many years. Last year when all the stuff with the burofax was going on I was convinced [to leave]. But this year no. This is our home and we love Barcelona, as much from the sporting side as in our everyday life. After 21 years here I’m leaving with my wife and three Argentinean-Catalans. We’ll be back, this is our home and I promised my kids as well.”
“There have been so many good times, and also some bad ones, but that has helped me to grow and become the person that I am. I was convinced we were going to stay, which is what we all wanted, but today it turns out I have to say goodbye.”
❝When I made my debut, that was my dream come true … I'll always remember that moment.❞
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 8, 2021
“I never imagined I’d be saying goodbye because I never thought I’d leave. It’s even stranger due to the pandemic and playing without fans. I have always felt the love of the fans though and hopefully, I’ll be back at some point.”
The conference room burst into a round of applause when Messi thanked everyone and then he broke into tears.
“Everything was arranged with Laporta and the club but it wasn’t possible in the end and that’s all there is to it. A lot was said and from my part, I wanted to stay as well, but it just couldn’t be done because of things to do with La Liga.”
Lionel Messi receives a standing ovation from his team-mates and family as he bids farewell to Barcelona.
Hopefully the Blaugranas fans will be able to wish him a real goodbye soon. pic.twitter.com/njuVYCE6kI
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 8, 2021
Asked to pick a moment for the memory, Messi responded, “It’s difficult, but I think the day I made my debut. That was the start of everything; it was my dream come true.”
Messi was asked about PSG and replied, “It’s a possibility but nothing is decided yet. I haven’t got anything arranged with anybody. When the announcement was made I had a lot of phone calls, several clubs were interested. Nothing is decided yet but we are in talks…”
“Last year I wanted to leave, but this year I didn’t. I was always completely upfront about everything and I have to leave the club I love.”
“This is the most difficult moment of my career. I have been through tough moments, defeats… but the next day you go back to training and you have another chance to avenge yourself. That isn’t going to happen here, it’s the end. Now another chapter starts.”
So sad watching a clearly very emotional Lionel Messi having to say goodbye to @FCBarcelona. No player in the history of the sport has given so much joy, so many unforgettable moments, so much success to one club.
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) August 8, 2021
“There were never any false expectations. We were convinced I would be staying. It was all arranged and there were no problems. I think I have always been honest with people. As I said before, it didn’t happen because of the things I mentioned. For my part, I was never dishonest with anyone. We agreed to a 50% pay cut and they didn’t ask me for anything else. Everything else is false. We did everything possible but it couldn’t be done. There have been a lot of things said that aren’t true.”
Regarding the photo with PSG players in Ibiza, Messi said, “All of that was a joke. Neymar called me and we got together with Di María and Paredes. Verratti was also there. They said as a joke I was going to Paris. It was a coincidence and people made what they made of the photo. It was just a thing among friends on holiday, nothing else.”
H was asked about the longevity of the footballer Messi in him and Messi replied, “It depends how my body responds. I have many teammates who say it is difficult from day to day. We are used to a routine and then later it’s difficult. I’ll keep going while I can still compete.”
Messi received another standing ovation after the end of the press conference.