Lionel Messi has confirmed he will remain at FC Barcelona for the 2020/21 season after the club insisted his €700-million release clause will need to be activated.
Messi, 33, made the football world come to a complete standstill in the aftermath after their humiliating 8-2 UEFA Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich last month as he issued a transfer request.
The record six-time Ballon d'Or winner looked towards an 'immediate' exit and despite attempts from new head coach Ronald Koeman and president Josep Bartomeu to convince him to lead their new project, he reiterated his desire to leave.
Manchester City emerged as the leading candidates for his signature with the romanticism of reuniting with Pep Guardiola running wild within English media after Messi sent a burofax in an attempt to leave on a free transfer.
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However, Barcelona held firm in their stance, claiming the deadline to active his free transfer exit had lapsed in June while Messi's representatives suggested the COVID-19 enforced extension of the season would allow him to still activate it.
LaLiga then quickly got involved as the drama between the two parties escalated and reaffirmed the Blaugrana's stance and legal rights within the saga which led to his father and agent, Jorge, flying into Barcelona to hold crisis talks with Bartomeu.
And as the drama went to and fro over the last 48 hours, Messi has now officially broken his silence on the matter in an interview with Goal.
"When I communicated my wish to leave to my wife and children, it was a brutal drama," Messi said.
"The whole family began crying, my children did not want to leave Barcelona, nor did they want to change schools.
"But I looked further afield and I want to compete at the highest level, win titles, compete in the Champions League. You can win or lose in it, because it is very difficult, but you have to compete.
"At least compete for it and let us not fall apart in Rome, Liverpool, Lisbon. All that led me to think about that decision that I wanted to carry out.
He continued: "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.
"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. 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."
Messi went on to admit that going to trial to force himself out of the contract never crossed his mind due to the 'love' he has for the only club he's represented over his illustrious professional career.
"There was another way and it was to go to trial," he explained. "I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, which gave me everything since I arrived.
"It is the club of my life, I have made my life here. Barca gave me everything and I gave it everything. I know that it never crossed my mind to take Barca to court."