Lionel Messi reveals he almost left Barcelona in wake of tax charges

Semedo Griezmann Lenglet y Arthur se reincorporan a los entrenamientos del Barça

Semedo Griezmann Lenglet y Arthur se reincorporan a los entrenamientos del Barça | EFE

In Monday's interview, Messi also reiterated his wish to have Neymar back with the club, and that when former teammate Xavi Hernández decides to coach Barcelona the team will play similarly to how it did under Pep Guardiola.

The Argentina worldwide was found guilty of defrauding the authorities of £3.6million between 2007 and 2009 and, despite having made a corrective payment of £4.4m in 2013, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, which was reduced to a fine of £223,000 in 2017.

"Not because of Barcelona but because I wanted to leave Spain, I felt very badly treated and I didn't want to stay here any longer". The feeling I had went beyond what I felt for this club.

Messi has extended his contract eight times since 2005 but has yet to be offered a new deal and his contract expires in June 2021.

"It is my idea and that of my family, first for how I am and what I feel for the club and the city". I would not like to disrupt that. "Of course, anything can happen but the idea is to continue living here".

Messi began playing football aged six for Newell's Old Boys, the Rosario club he supports in Argentina.

"I always dreamed since I was little, to live the experience of playing in Argentine soccer".

"An extension? I think not, I do not have all the information about it, but for the moment there is nothing according to what my father tells me".

"At that time, with the mess of the treasury, I wanted to leave, not for wanting to leave Barca but wanting to leave Spain", said Messi, whose 21-month prison sentence was changed to a £223,000 fine in July 2017.

Griezmann has scored three times in seven La Liga appearances but struggled to hit the heights that made him one of the most sought-after players in the world while at Atletico Madrid.

Lionel Messi has dismissed suggestions he did not want Barcelona to sign Antoine Griezmann as a "lie".

Looking at best players, Messi admitted that he misses Cristiano Ronaldo and he would have liked him to remain in Spain with Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo hasn't lost his goalscoring touch despite now being 33 but his 2019 numbers are almost halved by Messi, with the five-time Ballon d'Or victor boasting a tally of 16 goals in 26 minutes. "I have always stayed out of all negotiations".

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