Talismanic Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi has revealed that he almost left the club and Spain altogether in 2016 over his well-publicized tax issue.
He disclosed this in an interview with a Spanish radio station, RAC1.
Messi and his agent and father, Jorge, were found guilty of tax evasion by a Spanish court and sentenced to a 21-month prison that was suspended.
According to prosecutors, the player and his father had taken advantage of tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to conceal earnings from image rights, defrauding the Spanish government of €4.1 million in tax revenue between 2007 and 2009.
The player’s 21-month suspended prison terms was however changed to a £223,000 fine in 2017 after he appealed the court judgement. His father’s 15-month suspended prison term was also changed to €180,000 fine.
Even though his ordeal has now faded into distant memory, Messi told the radio station he felt “mistreated” and contemplated quitting the country over the matter.