Lionel Messi said on Friday that he had withdrawn a letter announcing his intention to leave Barcelona and would stay with the soccer club that he has called home for his entire professional career. The decision was announced in an interview with the website Goal.
The decision is an abrupt about-face for Messi, who on Aug. 25 had informed the club in writing that he would exercise a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave the club unilaterally. It also spares the team the embarrassment of losing its most beloved, and most valuable, asset without receiving a transfer fee.
But it may do little to resolve months of turmoil at Barcelona, a downward spiral involving coaching changes, boardroom intrigue and public bickering that reached a nadir with a humbling 8-2 defeat at the hands of the German champion Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.