Lionel Messi reportedly has Barcelona in “suspense” amid talk over his future.
Lionel Messi has sensationally revealed why he suddenly changed his mind to stay back at Barcelona.
The Argentine said he had to change his mind after his children burst into tears when he told them he wanted to quit.
Messi, 33, handed in his transfer request to Barca last month – leaving his family devastated – but a bitter legal battle scuppered his move.
Messi also suggested he is being forced to stay at Barcelona against his wishes after saying he has no choice but to see out the last year of his contract with the club.
The Argentine legend has three sons with wife Antonela Roccuzzo, Ciro, two, Mateo, aged four, and Thiago, aged seven.
And he revealed how the news sparked a “brutal drama” in the family because they didn’t want to leave their home in Barcelona.
Speaking to Goal, he said: “When I communicated my wish to leave to my wife and children, it was a brutal drama.
“The whole family began crying, my children did not want to leave Barcelona, nor did they want to change schools.
“But I looked further afield and I want to compete at the highest level, win titles, compete in the Champions League. You can win or lose in it, because it is very difficult, but you have to compete.
“Mateo is still little and he doesn’t realise what it means to go somewhere else and make your life a few years elsewhere.
“Thiago, he is older. He heard something on TV and found out something and asked.
“I didn’t want him to know anything about being forced to leave, to have to live in a new school, or make new friends.
“He cried to me and said ‘let’s not go’. I repeat that it was hard, really.
“It was understandable. It happened to me. It is very difficult to make a decision.”
Messi is considered the world’s greatest footballer with six Ballon d’Or trophies and 634 career goals for the Catalan giants.
Barca insisted they would not let their superstar leave for anything less than £623million – and made it clear the only way that would change was if he took them to court.