La Liga

Ronaldo and Neymar left, we are ready for Messi to leave, says La Liga chief

League president Javier Tebas believes the Spanish top-flight will survive if the Argentine eventually leaves Barcelona

3:17pm on Wednesday 18th November 2020
Martin Macdonald

La Liga are ready for if and when Lionel Messi leaves Barcelona, according to league president Javier Tebas.

It has been suggested that Messi is the only current global superstar currently plying his trade in the division, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar moving on to Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain respectively over the past few years.

When that pair left, it was thought the league would be impacted financially by a decrease in sponsorship.

Tebas says that didn't happen, and it won't happen when Messi leaves either.

"We would prefer Messi to stay in La Liga but Ronaldo and Neymar left and we have not noticed any difference," Tebas insisted.

"We are ready."

Following Barcelona's embarrassing 8-2 loss versus Bayern in the Champions League, things reached boiling point for Messi who had already become disillusioned with life at the Camp Nou.

The Argentine subsequently faxed the club requesting that he be allowed to leave for free due to a clause inserted in his contract every year.

Barcelona disputed the contract and insisted his huge release clause would have to be paid.

In the end, Messi agreed to stay for at least one more year, wanting to avoid a public legal dispute with the club he has been with since the age of 13.

Only a handful of clubs could afford his wages, including Manchester City who are believed to be leading the race for his signature.

33 yrs - F (RC) - Barcelona
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Tebas says if City do sign Messi, the deal will have been pulled off "outside the rules", referring to financial fair play.

"It seems the only club in the Premier League that talks about registering Messi is Manchester City, who compete outside the rules," he added. "I am not the only one saying this.

"I am not too worried about them. I have criticised what they do so many times. Doing it one more time makes no difference. City is neither affected by Covid or pandemics or anything because they are financed differently and it is impossible to fight against that."

Messi is under a new head coach this season in Ronald Koeman, but the Catalan side haven't enjoyed a good start to the campaign and are currently eighth after winning just three of their opening eight fixtures in La Liga.

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