Lionel Messi was found guilty of defrauding Spanish tax authorities of €4.1 million between 2007 and 2009.
Lionel Messi revealed that he wanted to leave Barcelona during the summer of 2017 owing down the tax row with the Spanish authorities. He claimed he was forced to stay put because of the lack of offers from other clubs.
The Argentine ace was guilty of breaching the tax law as he was found frauding €4.1 million between 2007 and 2009. He was amended to a €252,000 (£223,000/$288,000) fine in July 2017. Similarly, his father, Jorge, was also caught red-handed and was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment a fine of €1.5m, though the prison sentence was reduced in an appeal.
The 32-year-old spent 16 successful years with the Blaugrana, during which he won ten La Liga, four Champions League, and three UEFA Super Cups.
“I had it in my mind to leave at that time, not to leave Barcelona but to leave Spain. I felt that I was being mistreated and did not want to be here anymore.
“I had the door opened by many clubs but I never had an official offer because everyone knew of my previous desire to continue in Barcelona. The feeling I had went beyond what I felt for this club.
“There was a time when I ended up tired by a lot of circumstances, it has happened several times, especially in 2013 and 2014, with the problems with the treasury and everything that came out. It was difficult for me and my family, many people did not know what I was going through and I heard a sector of the press helped to make this happen.”
Speculations continue to mount around Lionel Messi, with a revelation that he has a clause in his contract that would allow him to walk away from the Spanish champions at the end of the season, if he wishes.
Despite those speculations, Messi has guaranteed that he would see out his current contract with Barcelona, with whom he is wearing the captain’s armband currently.
“Obviously I will stay if you love me. I am delighted and my idea is to stay here – nothing has changed that at all. It is increasingly clear that I will end my career here. 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 change the friendships of the children or their social circle, I would not like this to break. I had to live with it and I do not want it to happen to them.” added Messi.