December 22 – Lionel Messi says his failed attempt to leave Barcelona in the summer has affected his form this season.
Messi reluctantly decided to remain at Barca in the summer after then president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted the 33-year-old’s €700 million release clause had to be met in order for him to depart
Messi now admits the ill feeling hit him hard on the pitch where he has so far recorded his lowest goal and assist tallies in 13 years.
“Everything that happened before the summer, how the season ended … I dragged everything into the start of the season a bit,” Messi said in an interview with the Spanish television channel La Sexta. “The truth is right now I’m feeling fine but in the summer I had a very bad time.”
Messi struck for the 643rd time for Barça on Saturday to equal Pelé’s goals record for a single club. But he has been under-performing and Barca trail leaders Atlético Madrid by eight points.
Barcelona face elections on 24 January to pick the successor to Bartomeu, who resigned in October, amid reports Messi will move on the following summer.
“Right now I’m feeling good and looking forward to fighting for every competition we have ahead,” he said. “I know the club is in a difficult moment at institutional level and on the pitch and everything surrounding Barça right now is difficult, but I’m feeling excited.”
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