Lionel Messi has ended intense speculation about his future by saying he will remain with Barcelona for another year.

The Argentine six-times world player of the year had told the club last month that he wanted to leave, insisting a clause in his contract allowed him to do so on a free transfer.

Barcelona, backed by La Liga, have insisted that a €700m release clause would have to be paid.

"I am going to continue in the club because the president (Josep Maria Bartomeu) told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700m, and that is impossible, and then the only other way was to go to court," he told Goal.com.

"I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, that gave me everything since I arrived, it is the club of my life, I have made my life here." 

Messi said he had been telling Bartomeu "all year" that he wanted to leave.

"The truth is that there has been no project for a long time, they juggle and cover holes as things go by"

"Everything became very difficult for me and there came a time when I considered looking for new goals," he said.

"I told the president and well, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he did not keep his word."

Asked about the reaction to his announcement in some quarters, the 33-year-old added: "It hurt me when my love for this club was questioned. No matter how much I go or stay, my love for Barca will never change."

In a further criticism of the Bartomeu regime, Messi said: "The truth is that there has been no project for a long time, they juggle and cover holes as things go by.

"I repeat, I wanted to go and it was entirely my right, because the contract said that I could be released. And it's not 'I’m leaving and that’s it’. I was leaving and it cost me a lot.

"I will continue at Barca and my attitude will not change no matter how much I have wanted to go. I will do my best.

"I always want to win, I’m competitive and I don’t like to lose anything. I always want the best for the club, for the dressing room and for myself.

"There is a new coach (Ronald Koeman) and a new idea. That’s good, but then we have to see how the team responds and whether or not it will give us to compete. What I can say is that I’m staying and I’m going to give my best."

Earlier on Friday, Messi's father and agent Jorge had written to La Liga to set out why he felt his son was able to leave on a free transfer.

The league had supported Barcelona’s position in a statement it issued last Sunday, but Jorge Messi insisted there was no specific date in the contract when his son needed to inform the club of his desire to leave, simply that it should be done at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Barcelona’s season ended when they were knocked out of the Champions League by eventual winners Bayern Munich on 14 August.

The tone of Messi’s statement clearly indicates he would still like to leave the club, but would now do so when his contract ends next summer.