Lionel Messi has opened up about the disappointment of not re-signing with FC Barcelona after his contract expired.
Messi's 21-year stay at the Camp Nou came to an end in July when his deal with the Blaugrana expired, and the club were unable to re-sign him due their financial troubles.
The Argentine gave emotional farewell in front of the media and his teammates, but he has now revealed that he had intended to finish his career at Barcelona.
"I didn't expect it at all," Messi said in an interview with France Football. "In my head, I was going to go [back to Barcelona], sign and start training straight away.
"I thought that everything was set and I just needed to sign it. But when I got there, they told me that it wasn't possible anymore. They told me that I couldn't stay and that I'd have to find a new club because they couldn't renew my contract. It changed my plans.
"It was extremely difficult to accept. To think that we were going to have to leave our home, the family were going to have their routines turned upside down, the kids were going to have to change schools and come with us to a completely new place.
"It was the first time that this had happened in my career. I had decided that I was going to end my career with Barcelona. It was difficult, but we passed the test together. A lot of things went through my mind, but I had no choice but to leave."
Click through the gallery below to see Messi's farewell at Barcelona: