Lionel Messi will stay at Barcelona after a dramatic U-turn saw him end his bid to leave the club this summer.
The decision comes after days of speculation sparked by Messi’s attempt to rescind his contract on Aug. 25.
Messi and his legal team argued on Friday that he had exercised a clause which enabled him to leave without financial penalty at the end of each season.
“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,” Messi told Goal.
“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 €700m (£624m) clause, and that this is impossible.”
Messi says he never considered taking the matter to trial in order to force an exit from the club where he has spent the entirety of his professional career.
“There was another way and it was to go to trial,” he added. “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.”
Barcelona has said the exit clause expired in June and that Messi’s deal — which runs until 2021 — is still valid. They claimed that if Messi wanted to leave, he or his next club would have to pay his €700 million release clause or face legal action.