Lionel Messi has called speculation that he asked for a wage increase of 30 per cent a “lie” as he waved farewell to his time at Barcelona.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta announced that La Liga spending rules had thwarted their attempts to sign Messi up to a new contract with the club confirming on Thursday that the Argentina international would be leaving the club.
Messi spoke at a Sunday morning press conference in which he gave an emotional goodbye speech and answered questions from the media.
The Argentine has confirmed that he accepted a contract offer reducing his wages by 50 per cent and that rumours he wanted 30 per cent more are a “lie”.
Messi said: “I would’ve liked to have won another Champions League, I have the opinion we could’ve got one more.
“I don’t regret anything, I’ve tried to give my best. I’m ending my career here with a good amount of titles.
“I offered to reduce my salary by 50%, but they didn’t ask me for anything else. The news I asked for 30% more is a lie, a lot of things people are saying is not true.”
Asked why he won’t be remaining at Barcelona, Messi added: “As the president said, the club has got a big debt, they can’t do it, it’s not possible [to stay].
“To keep drawing it out would make it more complicated. I need to focus on my career and what I need to do from now on.
“I did everything I could to stay and it was not possible to stay.”
When asked if Paris Saint-Germain – who have reportedly offered him a two-year deal – would be his next club, Messi replied: “It is a possibility.
“I’ve had nothing confirmed with anyone. When the press release was published, I had a lot of calls, a lot of teams interested and we are talking about a lot of things.”
❝When I made my debut, that was my dream come true … I’ll always remember that moment.❞
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 8, 2021
Explaining his feelings when he found out he wouldn’t be playing for Barcelona next season, he continued: “It was like my blood ran cold, I was really sad, it was really difficult right up to now. I’m still trying to process it all.
“When I get home I will still feel bad, it will be even worse.”