Lionel Messi admits he came close to leaving Barcelona during tax row

Lionel Messi admits he wanted to leave Barcelona back in July 2016 when he was involved in a tax row.

The Argentine and his father Jorge were found guilty of tax fraud and handed a 21-month suspended prison sentence.

Messi was also ordered to pay a fine but believed he was being painted in an unfair light.

His want to leave Spain had nothing to do with the environment at the Nou Camp however – something that was common knowledge hence the lack of offers that came in for him.

“At that time, with the mess of the treasury, I wanted to leave, not for wanting to leave Barca but wanting to leave Spain,” Messi told Catalan language radio station RAC1.

The forward considered leaving Spain
(Image: SIPA USA/PA Images)

“I felt that I was being very mistreated and I didn’t want to stay here. I never had an official offer because everyone knew my idea to stay here.

“It was very difficult for me and my family because people don’t know much about what’s going on.

“The truth is that it was hard for everything that happened but it is better that my children were small and did not know. It was very difficult for me and my family because people don’t know much about what’s going on.”

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has spent his entire career at the Nou Camp.

Lionel Messi plans to see out his career at Barcelona
(Image: Getty Images)

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He recently hit out at the club’s board following the sacking of Ernesto Valverde and their handling of wage cuts.

But the 32-year-old maintains he want to finish his career as a one-club man.

“Today my idea and that of my family is to end here,” he added.

“Especially first because of how I am in the club, how I feel in the club, then because of the familiar, for how good we are in this city, for my children, for not changing my friendships and I don’t want it broken because I had to live it on my personal level.”

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