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Thursday, October 17
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Lionel Messi reveals he wanted to leave Barcelona

:Headline: Lionel Messi reveals he wanted to leave Barcelona:ID:374503: from db_amp
The Argentina international was found guilty of defrauding the authorities of £3.6million between 2007 and 2009.
PA | 7d

Lionel Messi plans to end his career at Barcelona despite admitting he wanted to quit the club and the country in the wake of his tax bill row with the Spanish government.

The Argentina international was found guilty of defrauding the authorities of £3.6million between 2007 and 2009 and, despite having made a corrective payment of £4.4m in 2013, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, which was reduced to a fine of £223,000 in 2017.

It almost forced Messi out of the club he joined in 2001 as a 13-year-old.

"I don't think that there is anything new to report regarding my contract extension, but there will surely be no problem if it materialises. With the club, everything is always simple.

"It's clear that my idea is to finish my career at Barca. Especially because of what I feel for the club and for my family. We are very happy in Barcelona.

"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.

"I wouldn't like to break up the friendships that my children have made here, as happened to me when I was little."

Barca were stunned by Liverpool in the Champions League last season (Peter Byrne/PA)

Messi has set his sights on winning the Champions League having come so close last season.

But Liverpool's remarkable turnaround at Anfield, recovering from a 3-0 first-leg defeat to win 4-0, still rankles and Messi admits the players were to blame and not manager Ernesto Valverde.

"The defeat at Liverpool was the players' fault. We froze and the memory of Rome (when they lost 3-0 the previous season after a 3-1 home first-leg quarter-final win) came into our heads. It was nothing to do with Valverde."

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5Chelsea84221814414
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool88002061424
2Manchester CityMan City85122791816
3Arsenal84311311215
4Leicester CityLeicester8422147714
5Chelsea84221814414
6Crystal Palace842288014
7Burnley8332119212
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham83321111012
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs83231412211
10Bournemouth83231313011
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves82421111010
12Manchester UnitedMan Utd82339819
13Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd82337709
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8233810-29
15Aston Villa8224131218
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8224513-88
17Southampton8215815-77
18Everton8215613-77
19Norwich CityNorwich82061021-116
20Watford8035420-163
Scroll for more - Tap for full version
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