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sad day Lionel Messi can't hold back the tears as he waves farewell to Barcelona

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Lionel Messi cries at the start of a press conference at the Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona after announcing he would be leaving the club. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

Lionel Messi cries at the start of a press conference at the Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona after announcing he would be leaving the club. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

Lionel Messi cries at the start of a press conference at the Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona after announcing he would be leaving the club. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

Lionel Messi has said tearful goodbye to Barcelona, with Paris Saint-Germain now preparing to unveil him as their latest mega signing.

The 34-year-old Argentina international received a standing ovation from family and friends, current and former team-mates and journalists during a farewell press conference at the Nou Camp on Sunday three days after the club announced his impending departure.

"I'm not ready for this. Honestly, last year with all the nonsense I was convinced of what I was going to say, but not this year," he said.

"Today I have to say goodbye. After 21 years I am leaving with my wife, with my three little Catalan/Argentine kids.

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Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona

Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona

Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona

"I am really grateful for everything. All my team-mates. All the people who have been by my side. I want to say to everyone, to have lived so many experiences at this club.

"I gave everything for this club. The truth is I’m leaving. I never imagined having to say goodbye.

"I hope that I could come back and be part of this club and help the club to be the best. I have forgotten many things I wanted to say but the words won’t come to me.

"I was convinced I was going to stay. It was very clear from my end. My blood ran cold. It was very sad, very difficult."

"The president explained the club is in a difficult financial situation. From my point of view, I have to keep going. I did everything I could to say but it wasn't enough.

"The important thing is that we're ok, my family and my loved ones and that I keep playing football."

Messi then received a standing ovation before taking questions from the assembled press.

"This is the end for me with this club. And now a new story will begin," he said.

"I'm very sad because I didn't want to leave this club. Last I wanted to leave, this year I didn't."

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When asked what Barcelona will be like without him, Messi replied: "Players come and go. People will get used to it in the end."

Messi also responded to the link with Paris St Germain, saying: "It is a possibility."

Messi also revealed he offered to reduce his contract by 50 per cent to stay at the club, but Barcelona simply could not fund his new contract as they struggle to cope with the financial fall-out from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now it has emerged that Messi is due in Paris early next week to be unveiled as a PSG player, with the French club continuing to spend huge money to sign the game's biggest stars despite the threat of Financial Fair Play sanctions hanging over them.

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