Lionel Messi said his emotions spilled out after “a lot of things hurt me in the last few weeks”, following his attack on Barcelona in an Instagram post after they sold Luis Suarez to Atletico Madrid.
It has been a summer of upheaval at Barca, not least because of Messi asking to leave the club before eventually reversing his decision, revealing exclusively to Goal that he will honour the final year of his contract.
One star player who has left, however, is Luis Suarez, who was allowed to depart Camp Nou by new manager Ronald Koeman. The Uruguayan has subsequently joined Atletico, where he scored twice on his debut.
Messi once again showed publicly his unhappiness at the way Barcelona is being run, saying Suarez had been “thrown out” despite being “one of the most important players in history”.
He wrote on Instagram: “I had already begun to imagine it but today I went into the dressing room and it truly dawned on me. It’s going to be so difficult to not continue to share every day with you both on the pitches and away from them.
“We’re going to miss you so much. We spent many years together, many lunches and many dinners. So many things we will never forget, all the time we spent together.
“It will be strange to see you in another shirt and much more to come up against you on the pitch. You deserved a farewell that fit with who you are: one of the most important players in the history of the club. Someone who achieved great things for the team and on an individual level.
“You did not deserve for them to throw you out like they did. But the truth is that at this stage nothing surprises me anymore.”
Messi has now expanded on his feelings that led him to post such a lengthy retort to his own club, admitting his actions were divisive but he needed to express his unhappiness at seeing a valued team-mate sold.
He told Spanish news outlet Sport: “I said what I felt in what was a tough moment. I understand people may have thought I should have shut up or let it go, as I did on many other occasions, but a lot of things hurt me in the last few weeks and it was my way of expressing that.”
The end of last season saw Barcelona suffer multiple humiliations, as they lost the Liga title to rivals Real Madrid, and were crushed 8-2 in the Champions League quarter-finals by eventual winners Bayern Munich.
Those losses hurt Messi, and while this may be his final season at Barcelona – his contract expires next summer – he says he is determined to give his all for the club and that the tumultuous situation has not lessened his desire.
He said: “Whoever knows me knows that I am not capable of playing any way other than always to win, and giving everything on the pitch. It was like that throughout my career and that is not going to change. Today my commitment to this shirt and this badge is total, it is still intact.”