In an interview conducted in Paris for SPORT and MD, Leo Messi opens up about the reasons behind his decision not to wait for Barcelona. While the Argentine desired a return to the Blaugrana, he believed that the conditions were not right, and reluctantly chose to embark on a different path.
Interviewer: Have you missed Barcelona?
Messi: Yes, definitely. I missed it, especially in the beginning when the first year here was so challenging for me. Even after leaving, the way everything unfolded, I kept following the team, watching the matches, and always longing for the memories and the feeling of being there.
Interviewer: You mentioned following the matches. I assume you were thrilled like any other Culé when Barcelona won the league, right?
Messi: Yes, of course. I followed the entire season and wanted Barcelona to win the championship, just like all Barcelona fans. In the first year, I also had several conversations with Xavi after some matches. I was keeping a close eye on everything.
Interviewer: Regarding the possibility of returning, have you made any decisions?
Messi: Yes, I have. The truth is, I had a strong desire and a lot of excitement to come back. However, after experiencing what I did, the departure, and everything that happened, I didn’t want to go through the same situation again and wait to see what would happen. I didn’t want to leave my future in the hands of others. I wanted to make my own decision, thinking about myself and my family. Although I heard that it was said the league had accepted everything and that it was all good for my return, there were still many other things missing. I heard that they had to sell players or reduce players’ salaries, and I didn’t want to be part of that or have anything to do with it.
Messi: Throughout my career at Barcelona, I was accused of many things that weren’t true, and I was a bit tired of it. I didn’t want to go through all of that again. Well, when I had to leave, they also said that La Liga had accepted everything, but in the end, it couldn’t be done. I was afraid that the same thing would happen again, and I would have to rush around like before. I’ve had to come here to Paris, stay in a hotel for a long time with my family, with my children going to school while still being in the hotel. I wanted to make my own decision. That’s why my return to Barcelona didn’t happen.
Interviewer: Despite what your heart wanted…
Messi: I would have loved to return. I’m also at a point where I want to step out of the spotlight a bit and focus more on my family. As I mentioned, I had two years in which I wasn’t doing well on a personal level and couldn’t enjoy it. I had that one month that was spectacular for me, winning the World Cup, but aside from that, it was a difficult period for me. I want to reconnect with the joy, to enjoy my family, my children, and each day. That’s why Barcelona didn’t work out.
Interviewer: Out of all these reasons, which one weighed the most in your decision?
Messi: Having my own decision and not feeling obligated to wait again, with the risk of experiencing the same situation that occurred two years ago. As I mentioned, after achieving everything and winning the World Cup, I also wanted to search for something different and find a bit of tranquility.
Interviewer: Your family plays a significant role in your decisions, and there are promises to fulfill with your children. How are they handling it?
Messi: The truth is, my family was very excited about everything they heard, but at the same time, we didn’t get our hopes up because the reality was that we still didn’t know what could happen. However, of course, I was eager to return. We never, never wanted to leave there. It was very, very difficult, but my family supports me, and it’s a collective decision, not just mine. They are also happy. Although they are saddened to leave because it was challenging at first. But now they are more than adapted to Paris. They have their friends at school, and it’s also painful for them to separate from all of that. But they are grown up, especially Tiago, who understands the situation. He is excited about what’s to come.