Lionel Messi makes 1st appearance for Barca in 3-1 pre-season win over Gimnastic

Lionel Messi makes 1st appearance for Barca in 3-1 pre-season win over Gimnastic

- Lionel Messi made his first appearance for Barcelona since the summer transfer saga with the club

- The Argentine played 45 minutes in their 3-1 win over third-tier Spanish club Gimnastic de Tarragona

- Messi changed his mind about leaving the Camp Nou and decided to see out the remaining year left on his contract

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Lionel Messi put smiles on the faces of Barcelona fans as he made his first appearance for the club since making a U-turn about leaving this summer.

La Blaugrana defeated Gimnastic de Tarragona by 3-1 and the 33-year-old captained his side and played the first 45 minutes.

Messi was taken off in the second half as Barca emerged comfortable winners over the third-tier side with Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho getting their names on the scoresheet.

The six-time Ballon d'Or caused a stir after submitting a transfer request that he wanted to leave that Camp Nou but the club wanted any team who want to sign him to activate his release clause of £624million.

The La Liga's all-time leading scorer rescinded his decision to avoid taking his boyhood club to court and returned to training afterwards.

The Argentine then agreed to see out his contract at the end of the season and decide his future with the club he most cherished.

Lionel Messi makes 1st appearance for Barca in 3-1 pre-season win over Gimnastic

Lionel Messi makes 1st appearance for Barca in 3-1 pre-season win over Gimnastic. Photo Credit: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Man City were favourites to land Messi at the Etihad in what would have become the biggest transfer in the history of sports.

But after Messi's decision to stay, City will not be relenting in bringing the one of the greatest footballers of all time to England.

Messi will begin the 2020-21 campaign with Barcelona on September 27, against Villarreal at the Camp Nou.

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Meanwhile, Legit.ng had earlier reported that Lionel Messi would remain at Barcelona until he turns 38 despite clashing with the club's chiefs, according to Brazil legend Rivaldo.

The 33-year-old was on the verge of quitting the Camp Nou after handing a transfer request to his boyhood club in the last few days.

But after giving it much thought the Argentine superstar made a dramatic U-turn to see out his current deal with La Blaugrana.

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