Argentina football player Lionel Messi has admitted that he wanted to leave Barcelona when he was under investigation from the Spanish Tax authorities but maintains that he plans to end his career at the Spanish club. Messi and his father Jorge were found guilty of defrauding Spain of 4.1 million euros in taxes between 2007 and 2009, for which they paid close to 10 million euros and Messi was handed a 21-month suspended prison sentence.
In an interview with Catalan radio station RAC1, Messi said, “In 2013-14, when I started having the tax problems, it was very difficult for me and my family," when he was asked if he had ever wanted to leave Barcelona. “My children were young and we had a very bad time. At that time, I had it in mind to leave, not because I wanted to leave Barca but because I wanted to leave Spain. I felt mistreated and I didn’t want to be here anymore,” he added.
Messi's current contract expires in 2021 and he believes extending his deal “will not be a problem." Messi said that presently it is clearer that his idea is to finish in Barcelona. Messi said. “For now I am at the club, for what I feel, and for the family and the children and how settled we are in this city. I would not like to disrupt that. “Of course anything can happen but in principle, the idea is to stay here.”
The 32-year-old also said he had expected Neymar to sign for Real Madrid last summer after Barca failed to strike an agreement with Paris Saint-Germain. Messi was keen to be reunited with Neymar last summer but Barcelona was unable to agree on a fee with PSG. He said that he honestly thought at one time, especially in this market, that if Neymar did not come to Barcelona, he would go to Real Madrid because he thought Neymar wanted to leave. “I wanted Ney to come because as a footballer, he is one of the best in the world. He is unpredictable, different and having him in our team would have given us more options,” Messi said.