Lionel Messi addresses FC Barcelona departure

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Lionel Messi has addressed the footballing world about his surprise departure at FC Barcelona this week.

The Argentine was reportedly set to sign a new deal at the Camp Nou, which would have been announced before Sunday's Joan Gamper Trophy encounter.

However, Barcelona announced on Thursday that due to financial issues and LaLiga's policies, Messi will not be returning to the club where he has spent his whole professional career.

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"The truth is I don't want to say it, these recent days I've been thinking about what I could say, and the truth is that I can't think of anything," he said on Sunday, according to the Mirror.

"This is really difficult for me after so many years, being here my entire life. I'm not ready for this.

"And honestly, last year, with all the nonsense with the burofax, I was convinced I knew what I wanted to say. This year, I don't."

"This year we thought we would stay at Barcelona. Today I have to say goodbye to all of this. I’ve been here my entire life - I’ve been here since I was 13.

"After 13 years I am leaving with my wife, with my three Catalan kids. This is our home, and one day we will be back, I have promised my children that.”

“The truth is we’re leaving. I never imagined having to say goodbye because I never thought of it. And I never thought of it this way.

“It’s been difficult to play in the pandemic without the people near by, without the fans cheering my name, without the fans for over a year and a half.

“If I’d imagined leaving, I’d imagine it with the Camp Nou full of people and saying goodbye properly. But it was not to be."

Messi leaves Barcelona as the club's all-time leading scorer with 778 goals in 672 appearances during a 22-year spell at the Camp Nou.

Here is Barcelona's new away kit for the 2021/22 campaign