An emotional Lionel Messi said joining Paris St-Germain was “a possibility, but nothing is agreed” as he confirmed his exit from Barcelona.
Messi is ending his 21-year association with Barca, who cannot afford to honour the new contract they agreed with him because of La Liga’s salary limit.
The record six-time Ballon d’Or winner, 34, is now a free agent.
“My family and I were convinced we were going to stay here, at home,” he said during a news conference on Sunday.
“This is the end with this club and now a new story will begin,” added the Argentina forward. “Yes, it’s one of the most difficult moments for me.
“I don’t want to leave this club – it’s a club I love and this is a moment I didn’t expect.”Last year I wanted to leave, this year I wanted to stay. That’s why I’m so sad.
“It was like my blood ran cold. I was really sad. It was really difficult right up to now. I’m still trying to process it all.
“When I get home I will still feel bad; it will be even worse. I’m not ready for this.”
Messi, Barcelona’s record goalscorer, submitted a transfer request last summer before agreeing to stay for the final year of his contract.
That expired on 1 July and Messi is now in talks over a move to PSG, where he would play alongside Kylian Mbappe and former Barca team-mate Neymar.
“It is a possibility, but I have not agreed anything with anyone,” he said. “I have got different clubs interested. Nothing is definitive but clearly we are talking to them.”