Lionel Messi has confirmed he will stay at Barcelona until the end of 2020-21 season. The superstar’s bombshell U-turn was officially announced on Friday evening.
The 33-year-old club captain confirmed he is finally abandoning attempts at a move to Manchester City this summer in a record interview despite having initially demanded to leave.
It was the evening of Tuesday 25 August when Messi informed Barça via that infamous bombshell burofax that he wanted to leave the club this summer.
But the Catalan giants stood firm and insisted that 33-year-old was still under contract and any club interested in buying him would have to pay his €700m release clause.
Messi’s father Jorge flew into Barcelona earlier this week and met with his son’s lawyers before holding showdown talks with Barça president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
The Messi camp were reportedly adamant that he wanted to leave, with Manchester City believed to be his most likely destination.
But Barça said they would take the matter to court if Messi reneged on the contract both the club and LaLiga insisted was still in place for one more season.
And then on Friday came a surprising turn of events when Jorge Messi released a statement stating the family’s belief that the contract and the €700m clause had both expired, and the six-time Ballon d’Or winner could leave Camp Nou for nothing this summer if he wanted to.
However, it seems he either doesn’t want to or isn’t prepared to fight his case in front of a judge, and Messi will therefore be staying put, until the end of the 2020/21 season at least.
The Barça supporters will get their chance to say a proper goodbye to the club’s all-time top goalscorer, and Messi can look forward to a new sporting project somewhere else in 2021.
Unless, of course, he changes his mind between now and then.
What a crazy 11 days it has been.