Lionel Messi: I Thought Neymar Would Go To Real Madrid

In 2016 the Argentina global was handed a prison sentence of 21 months and ordered to pay a fine of €2 million, but never spent a day behind bars after paying a €250,000 fine. At that time, I had it in mind to leave, not because I wanted to leave Barca but because I wanted to leave Spain.

"I honestly thought that in this market, if he did not come here, he would go to Madrid", Messi told radio station RAC.

"He really wanted to leave Paris and he'd shown it."And I thought that Florentino [Perez] and Real Madrid were going to do something to sign him".

"Especially first because of how I am in the club, how I feel in the club, then because of the familiar, for how good we are in this city, for my children, for not changing my friendships and I don't want it broken because I had to live it on my personal level".

When questioned about his future, Messi he added: "Today my idea and that of my family is to end here".

Neymar's move to PSG two years ago came as a shock, with many suggesting that the former Santos star left Barcelona in order to escape Messi's shadow.

Barcelona and Madrid were both heavily linked with the 27-year-old, but neither was able to produce an offer considered acceptable by the French champions. "He is unpredictable, different and having him in our team would have given us more options". Messi denies suggestions of a rift between him and the Frenchman.

"It was not the coach's fault but it was also not my decision for him to stay", Messi said.

"If another coach comes, we will be with him".

According to Alonso, Madrid started to adapt to Barcelona's tactics under Pep Guardiola and discovered the best way to contain Messi on the pitch. "My legs hurt against Sevilla but it's what happens when you come back".

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