Five time Ballon D’or winner and Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has revealed he considered leaving the club in 2013.
The Argentina international, who has been at Barcelona since he was 13 and is their all-time top scorer, said he felt ‘badly treated’ by Spain when he was investigated for tax fraud in 2013.
He was found guilty in 2016 along with his father Jorge of defrauding the Spanish government of €4.2m between 2007 and 2009 over income earned from image rights.
“Sincerely, at that time, I thought about leaving,” Messi confessed to Barcelona-based radio station RAC1 in an interview broadcast on Wednesday.
“Not because of Barcelona but because I wanted to leave Spain, I felt very badly treated and I didn’t want to stay here any longer.
“I had my doors open to many clubs but I never got an official offer because everyone knew I really wanted to stay. This situation went way beyond my feelings for Barca.”