Lionel Messi looks to put summer of uncertainty behind him and calls for unity at Barcelona
Lionel Messi has insisted he wants to draw a line under his summer transfer stand-off with Barcelona.
Messi was embroiled in a transfer saga with the Catalan club this summer as the 33-year-old sought to trigger a clause in his contract that would allow him to walk away for free, ending a near-two decade spell with the club.
However, the Argentine eventually gave up in his pursuit of an exit to avoid a huge legal battle with the club who disputed the eligibility of the clause.
The club claimed that the period to activate the clause had closed because the request needed to be made in June, not in August, when the coronavirus-extended season eventually ended.
But speaking to SPORT, Messi said he meant no offence to the club’s supporters during the dramatic saga, adding he always had the club’s best interests at the forefront of his mind.
‘I take responsibility for my errors and if they existed, it was only to make FC Barcelona better and stronger,’ Messi said.
‘I wanted to send a message to all the socios and fans that follow us. If at any moment, any of them were annoyed by something that I said or did, let there be no doubts that anything I did was always with the club’s best interests in mind.’
Barcelona began their new LaLiga campaign at the weekend with a 4-0 win against Unai Emery’s Villarreal at Camp Nou, in which Messi netted from the spot.
And with minds refocused, the Barcelona superstar has underlined his desire to put the drama of the summer behind him and focus on the club’s on-field goals.
‘After so many disagreements, I would like to bring an end to everything. We all have to be united and assume that the best is yet to come,’ the 33-year-old said.
‘Uniting passion with excitement and motivation will be the only way to achieve our objectives, always united and rowing in the same direction.’
Messi’s dramatic summer went to another dimension when he blasted the club last week for forcing the departure of his long-time strike partner and friend Luis Suarez to Atletico Madrid.
Messi took to Instagram to bid farewell to his attacking partner, before taking another dig at the club’s hierarchy by saying ‘at this point nothing surprises me.’
But Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman insisted it was a natural reaction from Messi but that it will not affect him going forward.
‘It’s normal that he is sad after his friend has left the club, they spent many years side by side. But the important thing is he’s training and playing,’ Koeman told a news conference before Barca’s win against Villarreal.
‘He has been an example to everyone. He is upset but he has shown a lot of enthusiasm since he returned and he’s going to show that on the pitch.’
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