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After 21 years at FC Barcelona, Lionel Messi is leaving. The big move was announced by the Argentinian himself during a press conference.

The 34-year-old joined FC Barcelona when he was only 13 years old. He first joined as a player in the club’s youth academy and went on to become the club’s all-time top scorer. He also holds the club’s record as the player with the most appearances.

During the press conference on Sunday, the superstar said that this is something he never saw in his future.

“The truth is I’m leaving. I’m so grateful for the care people have shown me. I never imagined having to say goodbye.”

When asked whether it was his choice to leave the club, he said that he wanted to stay at Barcelona, but that league regulations prohibited him from staying.

“I did everything possible and the club, Laporta, they couldn’t do it because of LaLiga.”

“I’ve heard things said about me that I didn’t want to continue, but on my life, we did everything we could because I wanted to stay.”

Joan Laporta is the president of FC Barcelona.

Messi, who was very emotional and eventually reduced to tears, was joined by his wife and now former teammates at the press conference. The players gave him a standing ovation once the press conference was over.

Image credit: CNBC

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