‘His reputation would be very damaged’: Lionel Messi warned against Premier League move by LaLiga president Javier Tebas but insists it would not be a ‘drama’ if he left Barcelona next summer
- Lionel Messi stunned football by trying to force an exit Barcelona this summer
- Manchester City were the front-runners for the Argentinian icon’s shock move
- He stayed, but Messi still looks set to leave when his contract expires next year
- Javier Tebas believes the Premier League would be a bad move for the forward
- The LaLiga president believes it wouldn’t be a ‘drama’ to lose its big attraction
The Premier League could spark the demise of the great Lionel Messi, according to LaLiga president Javier Tebas.
It’s beginning to look inevitable that Messi will leave Barcelona next summer when his contract runs out, after a dramatic summer which saw the Nou Camp icon announce his intention to leave the club.
Eventually persuaded to stay put after bitter talks with the Catalan club, Messi’s top suitors were Manchester City before his U-turn, and Pep Guardiola’s side will likely remain the front-runners in 2021.
Lionel Messi was on the verge of a move away from Barcelona this summer before a U-turn
Old boss Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City were favourites for the move and will remain so
LaLiga president Javier Tebas is keen to play down the void Messi will leave if he exits Spain
Messi has spent his whole career at Barca, making his league debut back in October 2004 and now closing-in fast on 500 appearances in the Spanish first tier.
‘We’ve been lucky to enjoy him for so many years but Messi should think very carefully about what he does next,’ Tebas told AFP.
‘If Messi left Barcelona, that reputation he has now and that has worked so well for him would be very damaged.
‘It’s true he could get a better offer financially but the reputation he has after more than 20 years, I think he has to hold onto that.’
The Spanish top-flight has enjoyed 16 years of Messi magic but could be about to lose its star
Messi’s exit would end a golden era of superstars in LaLiga, following Neymar leaving Barcelona for PSG in 2017 for £198m and Cristiano Ronaldo quitting Real Madrid for Juventus in a £100m deal a year later.
With fewer stars in the league LaLiga could be expected to decline in popularity while Serie A appears to be on the rise, but Tebas is playing it cool.
‘It wouldn’t be a drama. Cristiano Ronaldo left, Neymar left. Neymar went to PSG and I haven’t seen the French league reaching a super level because of him,’ Tebas added.
The Argentinian hasn’t been himself so far this season after a summer of exhausting drama
‘That’s the reality. People who think the players are the ones who define a competition are wrong and I’m glad they think that way because they won’t grow.’
Messi’s form appears to have been affected by the summer drama, with the Argentinian without a league goal in three games.
He’ll need to rediscover his brilliant best on Saturday in what could be his final Nou Camp El Clasico, with Real Madrid on their way to Spain’s east coast.