Lionel Messi says he did want to leave Barcelona in 2013 but now wants to end his career at the Nou Camp. The 32-year-old forward told Barcelona-based radio station RAC1 he felt “very badly treated” by Spain as he and his father were investigated for filing fraudulent tax returns. “Sincerely, at that time, I thought about leaving,” he said.
“Not because of Barcelona but because I wanted to leave Spain, I didn’t want to stay here any longer.” He added: “I had my doors open to many clubs but I never got an official offer because everyone knew I really wanted to stay. This situation went way beyond my feelings for Barca.”
Messi enrolled in Barcelona’s La Masia academy at 13 and made his first team debut at 16. He’s gone on to become the club’s record goalscorer with 604 goals and is second on their all-time appearance list behind former team-mate Xavi.