On Friday evening, Messi, 33, confirmed that he had changed his mind and will remain a Barcelona player for the forthcoming season, just ten days after submitting a transfer request at the club.
Messi’s relationship with president Josep Maria Bartomeu soured as he became increasingly frustrated with Barca’s handling of certain matters – from their treatment of former manager Ernesto Valverde to the appointment of Quique Setien – and the side’s performances on the pitch did little to help the situation.
Messi’s team had hoped to exercise a clause in his contract which would potentially have allowed him to leave for free but the Argentine confirmed that any team wishing to sign him would have to meet his eye-watering €700 million (£624m) release clause at the Camp Nou.
Pep Guardiola had been keeping close tabs on proceedings, with Messi open to reunited with his former boss at the Etihad, but the forward’s dramatic U-turn means Manchester City fans’ dreams will have to remain just that, for the time being at least.
It goes without saying that the last few days has been an emotional rollercoaster for Messi, with his future up in the air, and the legendary attacker lifted the lid on how his family have coped in an exclusive interview with Goal.
‘When I communicated my wish to leave to my wife and children, it was a brutal drama,’ Messi said.
‘The whole family began crying, my children did not want to leave Barcelona, nor did they want to change schools.
‘But I looked further afield and I want to compete at the highest level, win titles, compete in the Champions League. You can win or lose in it, because it is very difficult, but you have to compete.
‘At least compete for it and let us not fall apart in Rome, Liverpool, Lisbon. All that led me to think about that decision that I wanted to carry out.’
Messi opened up on the emotional conversation he had with his eldest son, Thiago, after informing him of his plans to move on from the Catalan giants.
‘Mateo is still little and he doesn’t realise what it means to go somewhere else and make your life a few years elsewhere,’ he continued.
‘Thiago, he is older. He heard something on TV and found out something and asked.
‘I didn’t want him to know anything about being forced to leave, to have to live in a new school, or make new friends.
‘He cried to me and said “let’s not go”. I repeat that it was hard, really.
‘It was understandable. It happened to me. It is very difficult to make a decision.
‘I love Barcelona and I’m not going to find a better place than here anywhere. Still, I have the right to decide. I was going to look for new goals and new challenges. And tomorrow I could go back, because here in Barcelona I have everything.’
‘My son, my family, they grew up here and are from here. There was nothing wrong with wanting to leave. I needed it, the club needed it and it was good for everyone.
‘My wife, with all the pain of her soul, supported and accompanied me.’
Messi clearly still holds some resentment towards Barcelona president Bartomeu but he confirmed in his statement that he will not be taking his beloved club to court over their refusal to let him leave for free.
‘I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not,’ he added.
‘Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season.
‘And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700 million (£624m/$823m) clause, and that this is impossible.
‘There was another way and it was to go to trial. I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, which gave me everything since I arrived.
‘It is the club of my life, I have made my life here.
‘Barca gave me everything and I gave it everything. I know that it never crossed my mind to take Barca to court.’
The Argentina international is yet to train with Koeman but will no doubt hope to be in contention when the side take on Athletic Bilbao in two weeks’ time.