Lionel Messi acknowledged that his level had been affected since his unsuccessful attempt to leave Barcelona before starting the new season, to be the start of this season, the worst for the Barcelona star in 13 years.
Messi caused a global storm after he submitted an official request last August to terminate his contract with Barcelona before finally deciding to go into the new season, the last in his contract, for his unwillingness to enter into a legal dispute with his club.
Lionel Messi’s contract remains in less than seven months, as he has the choice of choosing the club for which he will play as of next summer.
Messi said in an interview with Spanish TV station La Sixa: I was a little affected at the start of the season after everything that happened during the summer, and because of the way it ended last season and asked to leave and other things, I am in good condition now, but I suffered from a very difficult period in the summer.
The Argentine equaled the record of retired Brazilian legend Pele, scoring 643 goals with one team after scoring in his team’s 2-2 draw with Valencia in the Spanish First Division on Saturday.
Messi, 33, achieved the feat with a close-range header just before the break after he himself missed a penalty saved by goalkeeper Jaume Dominic.
He began his career with Barcelona when he was 17 years old in 2004 and scored so many goals in 748 games, while Pele reached the same number of goals in 665 official matches with Santos, the Brazilian, in 19 seasons.
But Messi’s level has dropped a lot this season, like his team’s performance, which is eight points behind leaders Atlético Madrid.
Messi, who was the top scorer in the Spanish league last season and usually scored more than 40 goals annually with his team, scored only nine goals in all competitions this season, including five penalties, which puts more than a question mark about his improvement this season.
He also did not make any goal in 13 league matches after he helped his team score 21 goals last season, making the start of the current season his worst since the 2007-2008 season when he was 20 years old and suffering from injuries.
Barcelona will hold elections to choose a new club president on January 24 to choose a successor to Josep Maria Bartomeu, who resigned in October. Messi again refused to talk about his future and said that he is currently focusing on recovering.
Messi added: I feel in good shape now and look forward to fighting in every competition in which we compete; I know that the club is going through a difficult period at the institutional level and on the field, and all the things that surround Barcelona now are difficult, but I am excited to continue fighting.