Lionel Messi has confirmed he now plans to stay at Barcelona in his first statement regarding his future.
Messi contacted the Nou Camp club last week to communicate his desire for an immediate exit.
Manchester City were considered front-runners to land the Argentinian in a fascinating transfer battle with Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan amongst those also linked.
But after a spell of chaos at the Catalan club which saw father and agent Jorge Messi fly in from Argentina for crisis talks this week, he is now set to stay at the Nou Camp.
However, he has hit out at president Josep Maria Bartomeu and insisted he wanted to go long before their Champions League humiliation against Bayern Munich.
Messi told Goal: “I told the club, especially the president, that I wanted to go. I’ve been telling him all year. He believed it was time to step aside.
“I believed that the club needed more young people, new people and I thought my time in Barcelona was over, feeling it a lot because I always said that I wanted to finish my career here.
“It was a very difficult year, I suffered a lot in training, in games and in the dressing room. Everything became very difficult for me and there came a time when I considered looking for new goals, new airs.
“It did not come because of the Champions League result against Bayern, the decision I had been thinking about for a long time. I told the president and well, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he did not end up keeping his word ”.
Asked about the Burofax he sent to the club communicating his desire to leave, he said: “The burofax was to make it official in some way. Throughout the year I had been telling the president that I wanted to leave, that the time had come to seek new illusions and new directions in my career.
“He told me all the time: ‘We’ll talk, no, this and that,’ but nothing. To put it in some way, the president did not give me ‘ball’ what he was saying.
“Sending the burofax was making it official that I wanted to go and that I was free and the optional year I was not going to use it and I wanted to go. It was not to make a mess, or to go against the club, but the way to make it official because my decision had been made …
“Clear. If I don’t send the burofax, it’s like nothing happens, I have the optional year I had and the year continued. What they say is that I did not say it before June 10, but I repeat, we were in the middle of all the competitions and it was not the moment.
“But apart from that, the president always told me ‘when the season is over, you decide if you stay or leave’, he never set a date, and well, it was simply to make the club official that he was not following, but not to get into a fight because I did not want to fight. with the club.”
Asked how he will now approach the new season under Ronald Koeman after being denied a chance to depart, he replied: “I will continue at Barça and my attitude will not change no matter how much I have wanted to go.
“I will do my best. I always want to win, I’m competitive and I don’t like to lose anything. I always want the best for the club, for the dressing room and for myself.
“I said it at the time that it was not giving us to win the Champions League. Actually, now I don’t know what will happen. There is a new coach and a new idea.
“That’s good, but then we have to see how the team responds and whether or not it will give us to compete. What I can say is that I’m staying and I’m going to give my best “