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Tearful Messi confirms he is leaving Barcelona

A tearful Lionel Messi confirmed on Sunday he was leaving FC Barcelona after the club said it could no longer afford paying its Argentine talisman’s high wages without jeopardising its future.

“I tried to behave with humility and respect and I hope that is what remains of me when I leave the club, an emotional Messi told a news conference as hundreds of fans, many wearing his No. 10 jersey, massed outside Barca’s Camp Nou stadium to bid farewell to the player they called Messiah.

The 34-year-old, who has been at the club for 21 years, becoming its all-time goalscorer with 682, broke down in tears before giving a speech and was greeted by a lengthy standing ovation from the media, current and former team mates and coaches in attendance.

Messi did not say what his immediate plans were, but after French newspaper L’Equipe reported on Friday that he was set to join Paris St Germain after their manager Mauricio Pochettino told reporters that Messi was an “option”, the Argentine confirmed that it was “a possibility”. However, he insisted that at this moment in time, he has not agreed a move anywhere.

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