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Lionel Messi reveals 1 major reason he almost left Barcelona in 2016

- Lionel Messi has recounted what events led him to consider dumping Barcelona in 2016

- The Argentine superstar was dragged by Spanish authorities over tax issues

- Messi was handed about two years prison sentence but was converted to payment fine as a first offender

Argentine superstar Lionel Messi has revealed that he was close to leaving Barcelona in 2016 after being entangled in a tax scandal.

The 32-year-old was handed a 21-month prison sentence in July 2017, but it was then converted to a fine €252,000 by the Spanish court.

Reports claim the six-time Ballon d'Or winner defrauded the Spanish government €4.1 million between 2007 and 2009.

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His father, Jorge was also given a 15-month jail sentence and it was also replaced with a fine of €180,000 over the matter.

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Messi has invested all his career to helping the Catalan club win ten La Liga titles since he broke into the senior team in 2004-05 season.

He has also won four Champions League trophies among several other domestic and continental glory for the club.

However, many believed that it was impossible for the Argentine to quit the Spanish club but the forward admitted he considered leaving four years back.

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"At that time, with the mess of the treasury, I wanted to leave, not for wanting to leave Barca but wanting to leave Spain," Messi told Catalan language radio station RAC1.

"I felt that I was being very mistreated and I didn't want to stay here. I never had an official offer because everyone knew my idea to stay here.

"It was very difficult for me and my family because people don't know much about what's going on.

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"The truth is that it was hard for everything that happened but it is better that my children were small and did not know. “It was very difficult for me and my family because people don't know much about what's going on."

Though a few clubs made attempts to offer Messi a deal, none was serious to go through with it considering his transfer fee, salary, and endorsements.

Legit.ng earlier reported that Barcelona captain Lionel Messi was said to have reached out to Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez in his efforts to convince his fellow countryman to move to the Camp Nou this summer.

This latest development is according to Racing’s president of youth football Adrian Ruben Fernandez who claimed that a move for Martinez to Barcelona is close.

Barca chiefs have been eyeing a move for Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez since last summer in which they are still planning to go for his signature.

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According to the report on Goal, Adrian Ruben Fernandez is the one who spotted Lautaro Martinez's potentials then when he was young before moving up to his zenith.

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