Five time Ballon D’or winner and Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi, has revealed that he considered leaving the club in 2013.
According to the Argentina international who has been at Barcelona since he was 13, he felt ‘badly treated’ by Spain when he was investigated for tax fraud in 2013.
Messi was found guilty in 2016 alongside his father Jorge of defrauding the Spanish government of €4.2m between 2007 and 2009 over income earned from image rights.
Telling Barcelona-based radio station, RAC1 in an interview, he said : “Sincerely, at that time, I thought about leaving,” Messi confessed to
“Not because of Barcelona but because I wanted to leave Spain, I felt very badly treated and I didn’t want to stay here any longer.
“I had my doors open to many clubs but I never got an official offer because everyone knew I really wanted to stay. This situation went way beyond my feelings for Barca.”
Messi was handed a prison sentence of 21 months and ordered to pay a fine of €2m.
However, he did not serve any jail time after he was able to exchange his sentence for a fine of €250,000.
Apart from Messi, other footballers in Spain including Cristiano Ronaldo, Javier Mascherano and Marcelo also had tax issues.