But Koeman insisted on Saturday that Messi had been “leading by example” in training and his confidence was repaid at Camp Nou, where the striker, and still club-captain, delivered an excellent display. He fired Jordi Alba’s pull-back into the top corner and then drove a second inside the post after Philippe Coutinho was allowed to carry the ball forward and spread it wide. google_ad_client = "ca-pub-5689805440782123"; WORLD EXCLUSIVE Lionel Messi will NOT be leaving Barcelona, we can confirm.We sat down with the man himself to clear up a few things Here's what he had to say: pic.twitter.com/NfnhGpZpXc. From the start, City felt there was a chance of signing Messi but knew it would not be simple. He has one year left on his deal, meaning he can talk to other clubs officially from 1 January and walk out next summer – a year late. Unwilling to go to court against the club who insisted he had missed the deadline allowing him to rescind his contract and threatened him with legal action if he departed unilaterally, he has been forced to continue. In a farewell message to his best friend and former neighbour last week, Messi took another swipe at the Barca board by saying he was not surprised by the clumsy way Suarez’s exit had been handled. Suarez laid on a goal two minutes after coming on as a substitute, his sumptuous pass finished off by Marcos Llorente, before scoring himself with a powerful header at the back post. “I told the club that I wanted to go. …Besides, the president always said: ‘When the season ends, you decide if you want to stay or go.’ He never put a date on it.”, He added: “I don’t know what will happen now. I wanted my final years of football to be happy and I didn’t find happiness at the club. Lionel Messi scored a wonderful panenka penalty to bring up his 700th career goal for club and country on Tuesday. He stays unwillingly and far from happy. google_ad_width = 300; Barcelona replied with a burofax of their own informing him they would not sell and insisting he remained under contract because he had failed to inform them before the 10 June deadline. Messi announced his decision in an extensive interview with Goal on Friday evening and far from trying to draw a line under what has happened or paint a picture of harmony, he admitted he wanted to go and accused the club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, of going back on an agreement to let him leave. “They say I didn’t inform them before 10 June but, I repeat, we were in the middle of competition and it’s not the [right] time. Messi might have been watching on a few hours earlier as Suarez scored twice and set up another in a senasational 20-minute debut for Atletico. La Liga have supported FC Barcelona by insisting that Lionel Messi’s release clause and contract at the club are still valid. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. Argentina forward reverses decision to leave Camp Nou, Messi far from happy: ‘I told the club I wanted to go’. “The club needed new, younger players and my time was over.”. I needed it, the club needed it, it was good for everyone. Messi converted from the spot 10 minutes before half-time and it was the Argentinian’s cross that then forced Pau Torres into an own-goal, after an early double from the 17-year-old Ansu Fati had already put Barca in charge. After a summer of uncertainty regarding Lionel Messi's future at Camp Nou, could he feature for the side once La Liga is underway? He told me all the time: ‘We’ll talk, but not now because of this or that’. Messi’s final admission of defeat and the announcement he is staying came after a public letter from his father to the president of the league, Javier Tebas, reiterated their claim that he was no longer bound by the €700m buyout clause. It meant Barcelona’s past, present and future were all amongst the goals on the same afternoon as Luis Suarez, whose departure was confirmed on Thursday, marked his Atletico Madrid debut by scoring twice in a 6-1 win over Granada. Chelsea face Alonso-Emerson sale dilemma after West Brom fall out, Man City to end two-year Dias pursuit with £62m signing, How FIFA soundtracks became cultural tastemakers: 'The music you listen to defines your life', Man City's hidden defensive flaw revealed and why Ruben Dias won't resolve it, New season, same old Man City: Guardiola needs to spend and sort defence before it's too late, How 'incredible' Torreira went from Arsenal's missing link to midfield misfit, netting twice in a pre-season friendly against Girona. Fri 4 Sep 2020 17.06 BST /* Punch_Sidebar_Articlepages300x250 */ “I spent the whole year telling the president I wanted to go, that the moment had come to take a new direction. The Argentine's decision came during a time of extreme difficulty at the club, exacerbated by their recent 8-2 humiliation to Bayern in the Champions League. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700 million (£624m/$823m) clause, and that this is impossible.”, Copyright © 2020 Goal.com All rights reserved. Messi had delivered a burofax to Barcelona on 25 August, officially informing them he was leaving, per a clause in the contract he signed in 2017 that allows him to walk away for free at the end of each season. He didn’t take on what I was saying to him. “I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not,” he said in the interview. Victories and goals could encourage him to stay, not to mention the incredibly talented Fati, who on this evidence can be a huge asset for his captain and his team’s hopes of winning back the title. He could have signed for another club and requested that Fifa issue an international transfer certificate, pending a final resolution, but that was a risky strategy that neither he nor Manchester City were prepared to follow. “I would never go to court against Barcelona,” he said. It wasn’t just: ‘I’m going.’ It was very hard to go. Messi shook the football world to its core after he informed Barcelona that he wished to leave in the summer ahead of his contract expiring in 2021. At a meeting on Wednesday evening, the club and the player remained locked in stalemate, with Barcelona telling him that if he did insist upon departing they would take legal action. La Liga Top scorers - Spain 2020/2021 Below you find the current top goal scorers for the … Fati became Spain’s youngest ever scorer earlier this month and the teenager, deployed on the left of the attacking trio, has now made an explosive start to the season for his club. Barcelona will kick off their La Liga campaign at home to Villarreal on Sunday September 27. Messi’s legal representatives argued that date should be put back because the season had been extended because of the coronavirus crisis – on 10 June, Barcelona were still playing. He then added another in injury-time, following up his own shot to make it six for a rampant Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano. Nor, as it turned out, was the threat of Messi walking away unilaterally enough to force Barcelona to negotiate his exit, despite the club’s desire to renew the squad and the economic boost his departure might have provided at a time of financial crisis. I had been telling him that all year,” he said. Messi’s anger over Suarez shows he is still at odds with Barcelona’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his long-term future remains uncertain, but on the pitch, for now at least, he seems ready to deliver. After a summer of uncertainty regarding Lionel Messi's future at Camp Nou, could he feature for the side once La Liga is underway? All rights reserved. His complaints raised doubts about his state of mind heading into the new season and at the end of a traumatic summer in which Barcelona’s greatest ever player admitted he was being forced to stay against his will. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP). “The burofax was a way of making it official,” Messi added. Most of Europe's major leagues have gotten the 2020-21 season underway, with the likes of the Premier League and Bundesliga resuming in September. There was nothing wrong with [me] going at that point. The information contained in Goal.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Goal.com. Lionel Messi scored in his first game since trying to leave Barcelona as Ronald Koeman began his tenure as coach by overseeing a 4-0 La Liga demolition of Villarreal on Sunday. google_ad_height = 250; FILE: Barcelona's Argentine forward Lionel Messi (L) celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Granada FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on January 19, 2020. “I’m staying because the president said the only way to go was to pay the €700m clause, which is impossible, [or] the other way was to go to court,” Messi said. First published on Fri 4 Sep 2020 14.18 BST. Fati then won the penalty, his feet too quick for Mario Gaspar, and Messi slid in his first goal of the season before his cross, aimed for Sergio Busquets, was poked into Villarreal’s net by Pau. ... 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal. Lionel Messi scored in his first game since trying to leave Barcelona as Ronald Koeman began his tenure as coach by overseeing a 4-0 La Liga demolition of Villarreal on Sunday. After pledging his short-term future to the Catalan side, Messi is expected to feature in Barcelona's inaugural La Liga game of the season - having participated in the side's pre-season games and netting twice in a pre-season friendly against Girona in mid-September. Photograph: Goal.com Lionel Messi is staying at Barcelona. google_ad_slot = "5984819487"; While they guided him, they needed him to free himself of his contract first. Lionel Messi is staying at Barcelona. The Spanish top flight is due to start a little later than the rest of Europe's domestic leagues, and Goal has all the information you need to know about when Barcelona will begin their campaign - and whether or not Lionel Messi will feature. Sending the burofax was to make it official that I wanted to go and that I was a free agent. Ten days after he served official notice of his determination to walk out of the Camp Nou, he finally announced that he would not be going after all – not because he had changed his mind,but because he had been left with no choice. “Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season. “And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club. But I will give my best.”, Available for everyone, funded by readers. His relationship with club president Josep Bartomeu had also been deteriorating. Performance statistics for Lionel Messi - FC Barcelona. Ultimately, though, with the date in his contract clear, Messi’s legal position was not sufficiently watertight to force a departure. The match will be played at 8pm BST (3pm ET). “I wanted to go and I was totally within my rights because the contract said I could leave for free. La Liga's all-time top goalscorer is Barcelona's Lionel Messi, who also holds the record for … Lionel Messi is a Forward who have played in 33 matches and scored 25 Goals in the 2019/2020 season of La Liga in Spain. In an exclusive interview with Goal, however, Messi then stated that he intended on remaining at Barcelona for at least another year after he revealed that he did not wish to take his club to court – which was the only way he would be able to opt out of his contract. Messi’s decision not to turn up for pre-season training was consistent with a legal position in which he claimed he had effectively departed having triggered his unilateral escape clause. The only reason he did not depart, Messi insisted, was because he did not want it to end up in a legal battle. Lionel Messi announced his decision in an interview with Goal on Friday. Messi claimed he had repeatedly informed Bartomeu he wanted to leave throughout the season and offered a portrait of a club that “has had no project or anything for a long time”. I wasn’t trying to cause a mess or go against the club; it was just a way of doing it officially because my mind was made.