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Leonardo admits Lionel Messi wanted Barcelona stay

Leonardo admits Messi wanted Barcelona stay
© Reuters
Paris Saint-Germain's sporting director Leonardo admits that Lionel Messi wanted to stay at Barcelona this summer, prior to his switch to the Ligue 1 outfit.

Paris Saint-Germain's sporting director Leonardo has admitted that Lionel Messi wanted to stay at Barcelona this summer, prior to his switch to the Ligue 1 outfit.

The Argentina international ended his 21-year association with the Catalan club, who could not afford to keep hold of the six-time Ballon d'Or winner amid their severe financial troubles.

Messi eventually signed a two-year deal with PSG and Leonardo has since expressed how he never envisaged the 34-year-old playing for the Parisian giants.

"I can't hide that we had contact before, but after January, when he had six months left on his contract. We never spoke to him before January 2021," Leonardo told Canal Plus.

"I think his idea was to stay at Barca. Honestly, he was sure he didn't want to go and he wanted to finish his career there. But there ended the Messi story at Barcelona, and ours began. Imagining a player like Messi with the PSG shirt is something enormous and very nice."

Recognised by many as the greatest player of all time, Messi scored an incredible 672 goals in 778 games for Barcelona, where he won 35 major trophies.

The legendary forward made his first Champions League appearance for PSG on Wednesday night, starting alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, however they were frustrated against Belgian outfit Club Brugge, who held on to claim a 1-1 draw.

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