Lionel Messi put paid to intense speculation about his future on Friday by saying he will remain with Barcelona for another year.
The Argentine playmaker had caused a storm when he told the Catalan club last month that he wanted to leave, insisting a clause in his contract allowed him to do so on a free transfer.
This caused ripples across Europe as top clubs scrambled for his signature. But Barcelona, backed by LaLiga, insisted that a 700 million euros ($824 million) release clause would have to be paid.
Manchester City emerged as favourites for his signature in a purported big-money deal, but Barca stood their ground and the 33-year-old is now set to stay for another year.
“I wasn’t happy and I wanted to leave. I have not been allowed this in any way and I will stay at the club so as not to get into a legal dispute. The management of the club led by Bartomeu is a disaster,” Messi told Goal.com.