Lionel Mess was in tears as he held a press conference at the Camp Nou to bid farewell to Barcelona ahead of his impending moving to PSG.
Messi looked distraught as he stood up to face the press at the start of his press conference, taking a tissue from his wife as he received a round of applause from all those in the Camp Nou press room.
The Argentine legend confirmed he wanted to stay at Barca, but will be leaving after a new contract was impossible to sign due to LaLiga regulations and the club’s perilous financial state.
Specifically asked about his next club, Messi declined to confirm he is moving to PSG, but is expected to travel to Paris over the coming days for a medical ahead of a two-year contract with the option of a third year.
“This year, my family and I were convinced we were going to stay at home, that’s what we all wanted more than anything,” he said.
“We’d always made this our own, we were at home. We thought we would be staying here in Barcelona. But today, we have to say goodbye to all of this.”
Messi, who has been heavily linked with a move to PSG, had been set to remain at the Nou Camp but is now a free agent.
He added: “I did everything possible and the club, Laporta, they couldn’t do it because of LaLiga.
“I’ve heard things said about me, that I didn’t want to continue, but on my life, we did everything we could because I wanted to stay.
“Last year, I didn’t want to stay and I said it; this year, I wanted to stay and we couldn’t.”
Messi continued: “I tried to behave with humility and respect and I hope that is what remains of me when I leave the club.”
Messi did not say what his immediate plans were, but French newspaper L’Equipe reported on Friday that he was set to join Paris St Germain after its manager Mauricio Pochettino told reporters that Messi was an “option”.
Messi also confirmed that he offered to reduce his salary by 50 per cent, but in the end a deal was simply not possible.