Lionel Messi says he will remain at Barcelona next season after performing a shock U-turn on his future.
Messi says he never considered taking the matter to trial in order to force an exit from Barcelona, where he has spent the entirety of his professional career.
“I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not,” Messi told Goal.
“Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season.
“And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700m (£624m) clause, and that this is impossible.”
“There was another way and it was to go to trial,” he added. “I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, which gave me everything since I arrived.
“It is the club of my life, I have made my life here.
“Barca gave me everything and I gave it everything. I know that it never crossed my mind to take Barca to court.”
Messi’s father and agent Jorge wrote to La Liga on Friday insisting the player is contractually allowed to leave Barcelona for free in the current transfer window.
La Liga responded with a statement shortly after Messi’s declaration, reiterating its stance that the €700m release clause needs to be paid in full if the 33-year-old is to be allowed to leave the club.