🐐 Lionel Messi: I had the club's best interests in mind when pushing to leave Barcelona
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🐐 Lionel Messi: I had the club's best interests in mind when pushing to leave Barcelona

Lionel Messi claims that he acted with Barcelona's best interests in mind when trying to engineer a move away from Camp Nou this summer.

In his first interview since he announced he was staying at the club, the iconic Argentine also said he was willing to accept responsibility for his mistakes.

"After so many disagreements, I would like to bring an end to everything and put aside any differences," Messi told Diario Sport on Tuesday.

"I take responsibility for my mistakes and, if there were any, they were only to make Barcelona better and stronger.

"If any fans were annoyed by something that I said or did, let there be no doubt that anything I did was always with the club's best interests in mind."

Messi told Barca club officials that he wanted to leave in the wake of their humiliating 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals. Messi thought that he has a right to leave for free as per a clause in his contract.

Man City wanted to sign Messi but Barcelona remained adamant that their captain wouldn't leave for free. Instead, the only way to trigger his exit was for a potential suitor to pay out his €700 million release clause in full. 

Messi backed down and agreed to stay at the club for the 2020-21 season, stating that he didn't want a legal fight over the validity of the clause with the club that he loves. The 33-year-old, however, remained critical of club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board of directors.

He accused Bartomeu of lying to him and said the board had no sporting project. He criticised the club for the way that they let go of Luis Suarez, a player who is a close friend of his.

"Nothing surprises me anymore," Messi wrote on Instagram.

Messi now wants to move on from the saga and build on the club's impressive 4-0 win against Villarreal on the opening day of the LaLiga season. 

"We all have to be united," he added in the interview with Sport. "The only way to achieve our objectives is to pull together in the same direction."

Messi has been at Barcelona for two decades and notched his 635th goal for the club in that win over Villarreal.

New Barca coach Ronald Koeman is preparing his side for a trip to Celta Vigo on Thursday and he has a strong desire to build the team around club captain Messi.

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