Lionel Messi has reflected in the 2013/2014 season because of tax investigations against his person on a farewell to the Spanish champions FC Barcelona. "I thought about leaving," said the world footballer to Spanish radio station RAC3: "Not because I wanted to leave Barça, but because I wanted to leave Spain, I felt badly treated and did not want to be here anymore."
He had no official offer, because everyone knew that he wanted to play for Barcelona. "But that was a situation that went beyond what I felt for the club," said the 32-year-old.
In June 2013, the Spanish judiciary had initiated investigations into Messi and his father Jorge Horacio for tax evasion. Between 2007 and 2009, the two had channeled more than € 10 million in revenue for image rights abroad and did not tax them legally in Spain. In July 2016, they were sentenced to a probationary period of 21 months and an additional payment of EUR 12 million, for which FC Barcelona was allegedly detained.
No problem with Griezmann
"It was very hard for me and my family," Messi said. It felt like the Spanish tax authorities wanted to make an example of him. "I was the first top player, they started with me and then followed everyone else." Several players were subsequently charged with misconduct by the Spanish tax authorities, including former Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi reiterated to the radio station his plan to end his career with the Catalans, the extension of his contract valid until 2021 should be "no problem".
The most recent rumors about a possible dispute with new signing Antoine Griezmann denied the superstar. "In the first year we signed Griezmann, I said he was one of the best, and the best were always welcome," Messi said, "I've never had a problem with him coming, so it's one Lie."
The superstar is missing in the evening against Germany in the friendly, because he is still locked for the match.