By: Gyang Dakwo
Messi, who is celebrating a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or triumph – has expressed his feelings for his former club, Barcelona; saying he is open to playing a farewell game in front of his fans there.
He had a rocky final couple of years with the Catalan giants after sharing his dissatisfaction with the direction the club was heading both on and off the field.
As Messi’s contract came to its end, negotiations failed to lead to an extension and he tearfully announced he was leaving, with Paris Saint-Germain his next destination.
Due to his time in Barcelona coming to an end during the off-season, Messi remains regretful about not being able to say goodbye to the supporters he played in front of for 17 years at first team level.
Speaking about the idea of a tribute match taking place, he said: “I don’t know if that’s going to happen, but I would love to be able to say goodbye to people in another way.
“I think there was a strange feeling when I left. It’s not good with everything we shared and lived together, and with everything that the club gave and I gave back to the club, I think I deserve to be able to say goodbye to people who I shared so many good and bad moments together during my career.
“Barcelona is my home, I love the club and the people in Barcelona. If it [tribute game] happens, I would be happy to be there.”
After making his competitive debut in October 2004 at the age of 17-years-old, Messi went on to score 672 goals in 778 appearances.
As well as a string of personal honours, Messi also won 10 La Liga titles, seven Copa Del Ray trophies and four Champions Leagues during his time at Barcelona.