Lionel Messi admits he wanted Cristiano Ronaldo to STAY at Real Madrid

Lionel Messi admits he wanted Cristiano Ronaldo to STAY at Real Madrid

Messi's problems with the Spanish authorities started in the 2013-14 season and he eventually received a suspended 21-month jail sentence after being found guilty of defrauding tax authorities of 4.1 million euros (then $4.6 million).

Leo Messi already spoke recently to "Sport" and about Barcelona's frustrated Neymar comeback.

The 32-year-old forward told Barcelona-based radio station RAC1 he felt "very badly treated" by Spain as he and his father were investigated for filing fraudulent tax returns.

"At that time, with the Hacienda mess, I had the mind to leave, not for wanting to leave Barca but for wanting to leave Spain".

"Yes, my idea is to stay for many years". "For how I am at the club, for what I feel, and for the family and the children and how settled we are in this city".

"From my childhood I have dreamed of playing for Newell's because of what football means in Argentina, but sometimes one has to prioritise the family".

Messi was keen to be reunited with Neymar last summer but Barcelona were unable to agree a fee with PSG.

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Barcelona did sign Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid, despite him rejecting the Catalans the year before.

"I was the first and that's why they came down so hard on me", said Messi.

"There was a time when I ended up exhausted by a lot of circumstances, it has happened several times, especially in 2013 and 2014, with the problems with the treasury and everything that came out".

Messi also offered his support to Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, who has been under pressure after a bumpy start to the season followed the team's Champions League collapse against Liverpool in May.

"The one in Rome, head first, when we won the Champions League", he said when asked. "To achieve success, we all have to be united".

"But no, the best players rise to the big occasions and Messi has done that time and time again". "A lot of the fans didn't want him to come back and that's understandable".

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