La Liga president Javier Tebas has said Barcelona star, Lionel Messi leaving the league would be a bigger loss compared to the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus from Real Madrid.
He has therefore pleaded with the Barcelona captain to remain in Spain. Ronaldo departed fro the Galacticos after nine years of relationship in a €100 million deal in 2018 to Serie A giant. Many viewed the transfer as a setback for the Spanish league’s international image. Some also suggested that that the departure of the five-time world footballer of the year could even bring financial consequences, but that was the other way round as claimed by the La Liga boss. He said the exit of the Portugal international’s had “almost no impact.”
He, therefore, said if Messi were to swap Barca for another club outside of Spain, the league would suffer as a result. The Argentine star is about to sign a two-year extension with the Balugurana with the option of terminating it if he wants to before 2023.
Speaking with RAC1 on Thursday, Tebas said although Ronaldo’s departure annoyed Real Madrid, it had almost no impact. He added that this was because the league has over the years ensured that the brand transcends the players.”
Tebas, who said it would not be a catastrophe should Messi leave Spain, pointed out that the case of the mercurial forward is different because he is the best player in the history of the game. He further said that La Liga is lucky to have him with Barcelona for his whole career.
“I think you would notice Messi’s departure — especially if he went to another league. It would not be a catastrophe [if he did leave] because we have television deals signed with or without Messi, but the important thing is the value adds. Messi always delights us.”
Messi and Ronaldo rivalry in La Liga
Before his departure to Juventus, there had been a close on-pitch rivalry between Ronaldo and Barca star, Messi. This was one of the league’s central themes for over a decade, with the last 11 Ballon d’Or trophies shared between them. Only world cup finalist, Luka Modric, separated them in 2018. Messi is the current holder of the title, which is his sixth- one above Ronaldo.
Messi will be 33 next week, and he is out of contract next summer. Although the club has a deal on the table for him, if he doesn’t sign a new agreement, he would be free to negotiate with potential suitors in January.