Lionel Messi has revealed that he almost left Barcelona in 2014 after he and his father were charged with tax fraud.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was alleged to have used tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to conceal earnings from image rights, and as such defrauded Spain of €4.1 million between 2007 and 2009.
“I had it in my mind to leave at that time, not to leave Barcelona but to leave Spain,” he said. “I felt that I was being mistreated and did not want to be here anymore.
“I had the door opened by many clubs but I never had an official offer because everyone knew of my previous desire to continue in Barcelona. The feeling I had went beyond what I felt for this club.
“There was a time when I ended up tired by a lot of circumstances, it has happened several times, especially in 2013 and 2014, with the problems with the treasury and everything that came out. It was difficult for me and my family, many people did not know what I was going through and I heard a sector of the press helped to make this happen.”