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Considered leaving Barcelona in 2017, says Lionel Messi

He continues to be the player around whom the team is built, but Messi revealed that he seriously considered leaving Barcelona in 2017.

Published: 23rd May 2020 07:47 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd May 2020 07:47 PM   |  A+A-

Argentina football great Lionel Messi. (File photo| AP)

Argentina football great Lionel Messi. (File photo| AP)

By IANS

BARCELONA: Lionel Messi has broken every goalscoring record for Barcelona, surpassing a number of legendary names that have played for the club in the past and thus staked his claim as the greatest player to have ever played for the Catalan giants.

He continues to be the player around whom the team is built, but Messi revealed that he seriously considered leaving Barcelona in 2017. He said that it wasn't as much that he wanted to leave the club as it was that he wanted to leave Spain because of the tax row that he was embroiled in with the government at the time.

"At that time, with the mess of the treasury, I wanted to leave, not for wanting to leave Barca but wanting to leave Spain," he told Catalan language radio station RAC1.

"I felt that I was being very mistreated and I didn't want to stay here. I never had an official offer because everyone knew my idea to stay here."

Messi and his father Jorge had been found guilty of defrauding the Spanish government of 4.1 million Euros between 2007 and 2009 and had initially been slapped with a 21-month prison sentence. The sentence was then reduced to a fine of 225,000 Euros.

"It was very difficult for me and my family because people don't know much about what's going on," he said.

"The truth is that it was hard for everything that happened but it is better that my children were small and did not know. It was very difficult for me and my family because people don't know much about what's going on," he said.

Messi recently has had well publicised disagreements with the Barcelona board which has led to speculation on his future with the club but he said that he now intends to end his career with the Spanish champions.

"Today my idea and that of my family is to end here," he said.

"Especially first because of how I am in the club, how I feel in the club, then because of the familiar, for how good we are in this city, for my children, for not changing my friendships and I don't want it broken because I had to live it on my personal level."

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