Lionel Messi's brother apologizes for remarks against BarcelonaPublished:
The brother of Lionel Messi, Matias, apologized after taking a swipe at Barcelona, claiming "no one knew" the club before the Argentina captain played there and ruling out a return to the Camp Nou for the World Cup winner.
Matias Messi answered questions from fans on his son's twitch account regarding Messi and Barca but the comments have since been removed.
On Wednesday night, Matias Messi posted an apology on his Instagram account.
"I want to apologize for what I said on social media, I was just joking with my son and friends. How can I think like that about a club as great as Barcelona is, which has given so much to my family and Leo. I want to say sorry to everyone, specifically to all Barcelona fans," he wrote.
ESPN contacted Lionel Messi's representatives and they have distanced themselves from Matias Messi's remarks, stating that "they are exclusively the individual and personal opinion of Matías, which does not have to be or coincide with that of Leo or that of other relatives, friends or people close to him."
Messi, 35, spent 20 years at Barcelona and helped the club win 35 trophies.
Despite agreeing a contract extension, Barcelona were mired in a financial crisis and could not retain their all-time goalscorer, a decision that prompted Messi to join Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2021 as a free agent.
"Barcelona began to be known because of Messi because before, no one knew it, they knew [Real] Madrid... That they would [re]pay him like that is not good," Matias Messi said.
According to Matias, it's evident for "those who have had the opportunity to travel to Barcelona and enter Barcelona's museum, it is Messi's museum. I'm telling all this so you can see what comes out of our guts."
While there has been speculation that Lionel Messi, who becomes a free agent in June, will consider a return to Barca, his brother says it will not happen.
Matias said: "I have a newspaper cutting from [Barcelona-based sports newspaper] Sport stuck on the wall of my house with the headline 'Messi should return to Barcelona' and I put underneath 'ha, ha, ha.' We are not going to return to Barcelona."
Matias added that in the event that Messi and his family did return, "we would do a good clean-up, among them [Barcelona president] Joan Laporta."
Laporta described the decision to let Messi leave as the "hardest he ever made" but said "he did not regret it because the club always comes first."
Matias said Laporta was "ungrateful" considering "all that Messi gave to Barcelona," while he also criticised Barca supporters.
"People didn't back him," Matias said. "People should have gone out on the streets and rally for Laporta to leave and Messi to stay. "There [in Spain] they do nothing, they are all traitors."
Lionel Messi arrived at Barcelona as a teenager. During his time at the Camp Nou, he became the club's record appearance holder and top scorer, scoring 672 times in 778 games. He won four Champions League and 11 LaLiga titles, and was named the best player in the world on six occasions while at Barca.
While he is out of contract with PSG this summer, sources have told ESPN that both parties have agreed in principle for him to continue his stay with the French champions.
Information from ESPN's Jordi Blanco was used in this report.
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