Aug 9, 2021

Lionel Messi Farewell Speech & Press Conference Transcript (English)

Lionel Messi Farewell Press Conference & Speech Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsLionel Messi Farewell SpeechLionel Messi Farewell Speech & Press Conference Transcript (English)

FC Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi held a farewell press conference on August 8, 2021, saying goodbye to Barcelona, a club he spent over 20 years with. Read his full farewell speech & news conference (translated to English) transcript here.

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Lionel Messi: (03:47)
Hello. Truth is, I don’t know what to say here. These recent days I’ve been thinking, giving lots of thought to what I could say. And the truth is that I can’t think of anything. This is really difficult for me after so many years, being here my entire life. I’m not ready for this. And honestly, last year, with all the nonsense with the burofax and everything, I was convinced I knew what I wanted to say, but this year, this year is not the same.

Lionel Messi: (05:35)
This year, my family and I were convinced that we were going to stay here, that we were going to stay at home. That’s what we all wanted more than anything. We’d always made this our own. We were at home. We thought we’d be staying here in Barcelona. The time we’ve had here in the city and in the sport has been amazing. But well, today is I have to say goodbye to all of this.

Lionel Messi: (06:20)
I’ve been here so many years, my entire life here, since I was 13. After 21 years, I’m leaving with my wife, with my three little Catalan-Argentine kids. And I can’t tell you everything that we’ve lived in this city, and I can’t say that in a few years, we won’t come back because this is our home, and I promised my children that.

Lionel Messi: (06:59)
I’m just really grateful for everything, all my teammates, all my former teammates, everything at the club, everyone that’s been by my side, all the people that, there’s so many people, even though some of us, I only met a few times. And yeah, this club I will always be so humble and have so much respect. I want to say to everyone at this house, for the luck that I’ve had to live so many experiences here at this club, so many beautiful things have happened, also some bad things, but all of this helped me to grow, help me to improve, and make me the person that I am today.

Lionel Messi: (08:04)
All of that said, I gave everything for this club, for this shirt from the first day I arrived until the very last, and the truth is that I’m leaving. I’m so grateful for the care that people have shown me. I’d love to be able to go in a different way. I never imagined having to say goodbye because I’d never thought of it. But I never imagined it this way, especially I imagined it with people in the pitch. The last year is the last. We not being able to play with public this past year because of the pandemic, and it’s been difficult not to hear their cheers, not to have them nearby, not to hear them shouting my name. And I leave this club now without seeing the fans for over a year-and-a-half, and if I’d imagined it, I’d have imagined the Camp Nou full, being close to the people, and being able to say goodbye properly. But it has to be this way, and I want to say again I’m so grateful for the love everyone’s shown me during these years because I’ve had some such great moments as well as some bad ones, but the love people have shown me has always been the same. What I felt, and I recognize the love that I have for them in the club as well, and I hope that I could come-

Lionel Messi: (10:03)
I hope that I could come back and be part of this club in any moment, in any way and bring something to help this club being the best and doing the best, being the best of the world. Honestly, I’m forgetting so many things because I wanted to say, but that’s all I can say right now. I’ve thought about it a lot, but the words just won’t come to me. And best thing now is to answer some questions. And honestly, thank you to everyone. (silence)

Speaker 1: (12:28)
Let’s go through some questions now. First question from Barca TV.

Speaker 2: (12:51)
Firstly, thanks to everyone from Barca TV. You’ve spoken about some important, some beautiful moments. You’ve got all these trophies by your side. I know it’s a difficult moment, but now you’re here. What was the best moment for you here in this club? Any title? Any goal?

Lionel Messi: (13:18)
Well, this is really difficult to choose just one moment. There are a lot of years, lot things I’ve lived, good things, bad things like I said before. It’s difficult to choose just one moment, but maybe the time when I made my debut, that was my dream come true. And everything that came later was amazing, but maybe I’ll always remember that moment that everything started.

Speaker 3: (14:08)
I want to ask you, in these recent days, in the recent hours, everyone’s a bit in shock, everyone in the press. So my question is this, when you got back from Ibiza, you came to Barcelona, and you thought everything was going to be okay. You thought you were going to renew your contract with Barca, and then what happened? What’s your version of all this?

Lionel Messi: (14:32)
Yeah, this is what Laporta said right up until the last minute, because everything with the league, it suddenly couldn’t happen. There’s nothing more to tell. And anything else I can’t say.

Speaker 4: (14:55)
I’d like to know, Laporta said the other day that the club’s above everything, but recently Barca’s shown that everything is for you. What are your thoughts on this?

Lionel Messi: (15:13)
I don’t know. What’s clear is that I did everything possible. The club, Laporta, they couldn’t do it because of La Liga. But I’ve heard a lot of things, a lot of things that have said about me that I didn’t want to continue, well, but on my behalf as well, we did everything we could because I wanted to stay. Last year, I didn’t want to stay, and I said it. And this year I wanted to say, and I couldn’t.

Speaker 5: (15:56)
Thank you for everything these years. What have the feelings been these recent days, and what’s the feeling in the end?

Lionel Messi: (16:03)
Well, like I said at the start, a lot of things have passed through my head, and at the same time, I’m a little bit blocked. I can’t think of what to say. I’ve still not quite come to terms with the reality of being in this position and leaving this club and changing my life completely. From such a young age, I was been in the first team, and for me, it’s always been the same for me. And now we’re going to start to change again. It’s going to be a difficult change, especially for my family. Because they thought that they were going to stay in this city, but I know that we’re going to be okay. It will be a difficult change, but well, we need to accept it, need to take it on, and move forward.

Speaker 6: (17:14)
Congratulations on your career. Good luck for wherever you’re going. I want to ask you about that. Paris Saint-Germain is the name that’s come up most of everything. Where are you going? Where are you going to play next season?

Lionel Messi: (17:35)
Well, that’s honestly one possibility to reach those heights at the minute. I’ve got nothing confirmed with anybody. Honestly, when the press release was published, I had a lot of calls, a lot of clubs that are interested, At the minute I’ve not got anything closed, but we’re talking a lot of things.

Speaker 7: (18:07)
What do you think you leave behind your Barcelona? You’ve got 35 titles there, 650 goals to your name, lots of success. What do you want to leave behind for Barca? And I want to ask you about the iconic moments when you showed your shirt in The Bernabeu, when you’ve got that come back against Paris Saint-Germain.

Lionel Messi: (18:33)
Well, like I said before, I value a lot this club. I’ve always tried to manage myself with humility and respect and understand the importance of wearing the Barcelona shirt in this way. And I want people to recognize that for me as well as the game that I’ve played on the pitch. They’ll remember me how they want and the way they want. I’m very grateful for the entire career I’ve had, but especially in Barcelona, the titles that we’ve won, the defeats as well, because they made me learn and grow. We’ve not suffered that many, but you can learn from the defeats. What was the other question?

Lionel Messi: (19:27)
Well, a lot, you said when we’ve won titles, I’ve celebrated them with my friends, my family, my children, and the thing is I’ve got a lot of memories and they’re all really good.

Speaker 8: (19:55)
Thank you very much for everything. I want to ask you, is this the most difficult time of your-

Speaker 9: (20:03)
I want to ask you if this the most difficult time of your sporting career.

Lionel Messi: (20:08)
Yeah, yeah, without doubt. Yes. I’ve had a lot of difficult moments, tough moments, a lot of defeats, but in the end of the day, I’m not going back to train. I’m not going back to the pitch. I’m not going back. This is the end with this club, and now a new story will begin. And yes, that’s one of the most difficult moments for me.

Speaker 10: (20:47)
Thank you for the football that you’ve given us, the 35 titles. When you talked about Bartomeu, you said you were just disappointed. Do you still feel the same way?

Lionel Messi: (21:02)
I’m very sad because I didn’t want to leave this club. It’s the club that I love, and it’s a moment that I didn’t expect, because like I said at the start, I never lied. I’ve always been honest and upfront. Last year, I wanted to leave. This year, I didn’t, and that’s why I’m so sad.

Speaker 11: (21:31)
People are really struggling to imagine what Barca will be like without Leo Messi. What do you imagine Barca being like without you?

Lionel Messi: (21:46)
Well, Barca is one of the best teams in the world. It’s got an amazing lineup. They’re going to… More players will come, not just now, but in the future. And players come and go in the end. And like Laporta said, this club is more important than any one person. People will get used to it. People will get used to it. At first, it will be weird, but in the end, they will get used to it. Like everything at first, it will be weird, but like I said, there are really good players. They’ve got a great squad, which in the end it will be easy for them.

Speaker 12: (22:39)
There were footage of the Copa del Rey, celebrating with your teammates, photos in your house as well having a party, when was the moment that you decided that you’d leave? Was it after the first meeting with Laporta? The fact that you knew you had to leave, did that made you sad? Were you frustrated?

Lionel Messi: (23:10)
No, in reality, when all that happened, I went to have lunch with the new president. We talked. We ate. After this meal, I was pretty convinced that we weren’t going to have any problems, that I was going to be able to continue. My contract was never a problem. Then what happened happened. It wasn’t possible, and that’s it. But I’m not going to say anything. I’m not going to give too much more thought about it. I’m not going to tell you what we’ve been decided, but it was just what it had to be.

Speaker 13: (24:09)
Congratulations for everything you’ve done for this club. My question is, would you not like a proper send off on the pitch with the fans? Would you be open in the future to come back to the Camp Nou if there’s an opportunity with Laporta who said he would be open to it with the fans, with the players? Would you be open to come back to the pitch to have an homage with the fans?

Lionel Messi: (24:41)
Yeah, but honestly it wouldn’t be the same. The moment’s now when it’s time to go. But obviously for these people I’m available for anything that… I mean, yeah, honestly, yes.

Speaker 14: (25:05)
Do you think the fans were given false hope that you were going to be able to return because it wasn’t yet clear that you could sign?

Lionel Messi: (25:20)
No. False hope, I don’t think so. We all were pretty clear and convinced that I was going to continue. It was that clear that we’ve got everything ready. Everything was sorted, and there wasn’t any problems. No, no. I think we were always very honest with people, certainly on my half. And like I said before, it wasn’t what we planed, but on my part, I never tried to trick anyone.

Speaker 15: (26:10)
I want to talk about Javier Tabas. No one’s mentioned it yet, but when all this started, he was involved, and in the end, this all has come about because La Liga couldn’t make it happen either. What would you say to Javier Tabas? What would you say if Javier Tabas did anything so you could stay?

Lionel Messi: (26:32)
I don’t know. I don’t know really well any of that. All I know is that because of La Liga, because of the good of the club, because the club didn’t want to sign up to what they had to offer, and honestly, I never said anything. I’ve only met him a couple of times, and the times that I did meet him we spoke a little bit. And honestly, I have nothing to say to him now because I’ve not got any problem with Tabas.

Speaker 16: (27:18)
Don’t know if you’ve been able to say what you felt when you found out the news.

Lionel Messi: (27:26)
Wow, it was like my blood ran cold because it was really sad, really difficult. Right until now, we’re still trying to process it all. When I’m at home, I’m going to feel still pretty bad about the whole thing. It’s going to be even worse. But the important thing is that we’re all okay in my family and my loved ones and that I got to keep playing football. That’s what I like her more than anything in the world. And I’m sure now it’s going to be a bit difficult, but we need to move on.

Speaker 17: (28:20)
Some of the teammates that played a lot of years like you, like Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, surely now you’re going to go to one of Barca’s rivals, how are you going to feel when you have to face Barca in the next step of your career?

Lionel Messi: (28:52)
Well, then the people in Barca know me. They know I’m a good player. They know I like competing. I’m going to come here, and like I did here, I’ll fight to win everything. The last years of my career, I’m going to finish it in my way, competing, fighting for titles, end my career on a high. And I want to take this moment to congratulate Dani Alves because he won Olympic gold yesterday. I’m really close to him. And that’s my mentality. And that’s always what it was in this club. I want to win, and I want people know me. And there’s no doubt that I’m going to go to a team that would possibly compete with this club. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay, but I have to, and I need to continue down my path of competing and winning.

Speaker 18: (29:58)
How should we interpret this photo with the PSG players in everything?

Lionel Messi: (30:02)
Just a coincidence.

Lionel Messi: (30:02)
With the PSG players and everything, just a coincidence. Yeah, completely. [inaudible 00:30:14], we got together one day. We got together with friends. He called me and he said, [inaudible 00:30:27] do you want to come see me? And he said, well, come out to my house. We’ll get together. Rakitic was there, we took a picture. We uploaded the photo in that moment because we were having a good time. There was a bit of a joke at the time of everyone was saying, come to Paris, come to Paris. But it was all just a joke that happened. And then later it happened, what happened. And that’s all the story is. It was just a joke, nothing weird. It was just a moment with some friends that we had together on holiday. And that’s it.

Reporters: (31:17)
You say that you want to keep competing, keep fighting in your career. What could be the top football ahead of you?

Lionel Messi: (31:28)
I don’t know. It depends on my physical condition. Thankfully up until now, I’ve not had any serious injuries in my career. Let’s keep moving forward because this could all end at any minute. I’ve got a lot of players, teammates that say that can happen. And that can be very difficult because every day we’ve got the routine, we get up, we train, I play the matches. And not having that at Barca will be difficult. But until I can, I’m going to keep competing.

Reporters: (32:32)
You always fight right up until the end of the match. Sometimes you spring a surprise, the match ends. The match for signing new players hasn’t come to an end yet, the window hasn’t come to and end yet. And so why all of a sudden is it not possible for you to keep playing this match here with Barca, playing this game right until the very end on this occasion?

Lionel Messi: (33:18)
Well, like the president explained, the club’s got a big debt because they can’t do it. It’s not possible. And to keep drawing it out, we would make things even more complicated. I need to focus on my future as well and think about my career, like I said before. And what I need to do from now on.

Reporters: (33:56)
This has been a big love story here, these 21 years in Barca. Have you come to a point, I think this is just insane … have you not thought of just fighting and saying, I’m going to stay whatever the cost?

Lionel Messi: (34:18)
Like I said before, I did everything I could to stay and it wasn’t possible. I’ve not got anything more to say than that because there is nothing more to say. We did everything we could.

Reporters: (34:41)
You go with an incredible record, which will be very hard to overcome. Are there any [inaudible 00:34:55] the new generations? And what are your thoughts or motivations about your new destination, your new club?

Lionel Messi: (35:02)
Yeah. I would have liked to have tried to win another Champions League because we got knocked out in the semifinal against Liverpool, which stopped us from getting another final. We got to the semifinal with Chelsea with Pep. They prevented us from getting to another final. And I think there could have been a time when we could have won another Champions League, but that’s football. The other side of things, I’d like to have won. Now I need to look at winning some other things. I don’t regret anything. Try and give the best. Sometimes things work out better or worse. I got the opinion that we could have got one more, but I achieved my objectives. It’s always nice to win more titles, but I’m ending my career here with all the good amount of titles. It’s like Dani won all these titles and he always tries to go out to win. And he was a great teammate. And I’ll try and get close to him at least.

Reporters: (36:26)
A lot of Barca fans are obviously very sad about this news. It’s been a bit of a surprise, but it’s obvious that this period is over now. I want to ask you if there was a possibility that you could have reduced your contract.

Lionel Messi: (37:03)
I offered to reduce my contract by 50%, my salary by 50%. And then they didn’t ask me for anything else. The news that I asked for 30% more is a lie. I did everything I could, we did everything we could. And it wasn’t possible. A lot of things people are saying are not true. Like I said, I did everything.

Reporters: (37:44)
You’ve repeated several times that you didn’t trick anyone. Do you feel tricked by anyone?

Lionel Messi: (37:49)
No. No. Everyone’s been doing everything possible and it wasn’t possible in the end. I’m not going to speak bad of anyone because I’ve always been up front with the fans, the [inaudible 00:38:05] and I’ve not lied at all. I’ve always been completely transparent. The problem is when you don’t speak, they say a lot of things and everyone gives their opinion. Everyone talks. And they can give all the opinions they want, but some of them aren’t true. I was always very upfront with everyone. And what was most important to me, what I cared most about was telling the truth to all the people that have given me so much. Together we’ve grown, together we’ve enjoyed all these years together.

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