— Barcelona superstar, Messi reveals he almost left Camp Nou five years ago over tax fraud
Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi, has said he wanted to leave the club, when he was under investigation from the Spanish tax authorities.
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.
The player was also handed a 21-month suspended prison sentence.
Asked on Tuesday night if he ever wanted to leave Barcelona, Messi told Catalan radio station, RAC1: “In 2013-14, when I started having the tax problems, it was very difficult for me and my family.
“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.”
The 32-year-old’s current contract expires in 2021 and Messi believes extending his deal “will not be a problem”.
“Today it is clearer that my idea is to finish here.
“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,” he added.