Tearful Lionel Messi as he gave his final speech at the Camp Nou on Sunday [Courtesy]

“I wasn’t ready for this…”

These were the words of six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi as he took to the stage at the Camp Nou press conference room to bid farewell to his fans. 

A tearful Messi, could not stop wiping his face, as he delivered his final speech at the Camp Nou. 

Here’s what Messi had to say to the Catalan family for the last time: 

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“These recent days I’ve been thinking, given a lot of thought to things. The truth is that I can’t think of anything. This is difficult for me after so many years. Been here my entire life, I’m not ready for this. 

Last year with all the nonsense, boring facts and everything, I was convinced I knew what I wanted to say but this year everything is not the same. This year, my family and I were convinced we were going to stay here, that’s we’re gonna stay at home. That’s what we all wanted more than anything. 

The time we’ve had in this city and the sport has been amazing. Today, I have to say goodbye to all of this. I have been here so many years, my entire life, since I was 13. After 21 years, I’m leaving with my wife, my three little Catalan kids, and I can’t say in a few years we won’t come back because this is our home. I promised my children that. 

I’m just really grateful for everything. All my teammates, former teammates, the club and everyone. that has been by my and many people that I have only met a few times. 

This club, we’ve been so humbled and have so much respect and I want to say to everyone for the love I had, to live so many experiences at this club, so many beautiful things have happened, also some bad things but, all of this helped me grow, improve and made me the person I am today. 

All of it said I gave everything for this club, for this shirt, from the first day I arrived to the very last. 

The truth is that I’m leaving. 

I’m so grateful for the care that people have shown me. I’d love to be able to go in a way I imagine, having to say goodbye, because I never thought of it. I imagine it with people on the pitch. 

The last year, we’ve not been able to play with the public because of the pandemic and It’s been difficult not to hear their cheers, not to hear their cheers, not to have them nearby, not to hear them shouting my name and I leave this club now without seeing the fans for over a year and a half and, If I’d imagine it, I’d have imagined the Camp Nou full, being close to people, being able to say goodbye properly. But it has to be this way. 

I am so grateful for the love everyone has shown me during these years because I’ve had such great memories here as well as bad ones, but the love people have shown me has always been the same.

What I’ve felt, I’ve recognised the love I have for them and the club as well. I hope to come back and be part of the club at any moment, in any way, I’ll bring something to help this club be the best and doing the best in the world. 

Honestly, I’m forgetting so many things. That’s all I can say right now, the words just won’t come to me, the best thing now is to answer questions. Thank you…”  

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