Barcelona [Spain], August 8 (ANI): Argentine striker Lionel Messi on Sunday refuted reports that he asked for a 30 per cent pay raise in his contract amount and said that he had in fact offered to halve his wages in order to stay with the Spanish club Barcelona.
Messi's clarification came as he bid adieu to Barcelona after a gap of 21 years. In his last press conference, a tearful Messi was not able to hold back his emotions as he waved goodbye to his teammates.
"The report that I asked for 30 per cent more is a lie. It's a lie. I offered to reduce my contract by 50 per cent and then they didn't ask me for anything else. As the president said, the club has got a big debt, they can't do it, it's not possible to stay," Goal.com quoted Messi as saying.
"To keep drawing it out would make it more complicated. I need to focus on my career and what I need to do from now on. I did everything I could to stay and it was not possible to stay," he added.
Messi won 10 La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues during his stint at Camp Nou while scoring 672 goals across all competitions.
"I would still like to have won some more Champions Leagues, the semi-final vs Liverpool, the semi vs Chelsea with Pep. I have no regrets, always gave everything, but we had a generation when we could have won more Champions Leagues," said Messi.
In what came as one of the biggest news in the football world, Messi left FC Barcelona, earlier this week. The club cited financial and structural obstacles for his exit.
Despite Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract on Thursday, this cannot happen because of Spanish LaLiga regulations on player registration as per the club statement.
As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled, the statement further said.
"FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandisement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life," it said as per fcbarcelona.com.
Messi has spent his entire career with Barcelona after signing on with the club in 2004. His contract expired in June this year, but he was set to sign a new deal with the Catalan side. (ANI)