Lionel Messi and Barcelona had a tension-filled summer, with the superstar attempting to force his way out of the club.
That didn't happen, and now Messi is hoping to move forward and make the best of a potentially awkward situation—and potentially his final year at Barcelona—as he told Diaro Sport on Tuesday (h/t Sam Marsden of ESPN):
"After so many disagreements, I would like to bring an end to everything and put aside any differences. I take responsibility for my mistakes and, if there were any, they were only to make Barcelona better and stronger. If any fans were annoyed by something that I said or did, let there be no doubt that anything I did was always with the club's best interests in mind."
Barcelona is in upheaval. A number of veteran players, including Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Arda Turan and Arturo Vidal, have been let go.
Messi's situation only inflamed what was already a tenuous time at the club following an 8-2 loss against Bayern Munich in the Champions League in August. Upset at the direction of the club, Messi tried to use a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave on a free transfer if it was exercised before the end of the season.
Barcelona argued that the clause had to be exercised in May, when the season was originally scheduled to end before it was delayed to the COVID-19 pandemic. The club won out, and Messi has returned.
It would have been a shocking end to Messi's time at the only professional club he's ever played for in his career, where he's scored an astonishing 635 goals, over 400 more than any other player in club history.
It's possible Messi will still depart at the end of this season. He has the same clause he could exercise before the end of this campaign. But for now, Messi wants a truce. Given all the turmoil at Barcelona this summer, it probably was received with open arms.