Messi talked about his feelings for the Barcelona-based radio station RAC1 on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

The Argentine has played for the club since he was 13 years old and is the club's most goal scorer of all time. He was investigated for tax crimes carried out in 2007-2009 together with his father Jorge Horacio where more than SEK 40 million should have been withheld.

Three years ago Messi received a conditional sentence of 21 months and a fine of just over SEK 20 million. The process lasted until 2017 when Messi paid SEK 5 million to avoid prison.

- If I'm going to be completely honest, I thought at that point about leaving the club. It wasn't because of Barcelona but I wanted to leave Spain. I felt so badly treated that I didn't want to stay here anymore, says Messi.

The tax authorities want to set examples

Messi was willing to apply for a new club.

- I had an open attitude to many clubs but got no official offer because everyone knew I really wanted to stay. This deal went well beyond my feelings for Barca, says Messi.

Messi believes he became a legitimate replacement for the tax authorities because Spain was in an economic crisis. Several football players were investigated at that time. Both Cristiano Ronaldo and José Mourinho ended up on the accused's bench and then left the country.

- I was the first one and that's why they were so hard on me. They set an example and showed that it would be so outdated. It was tough because of everything that happened at that time, says Messi, who had injury problems in the season run but is now back in action.