Lionel Messi's exit did not financially impact La Liga, says league President

In September, Lionel Messi signed a free agent contract with PSG, while Ronaldo joined Juventus from Real Madrid in 2018.

Lionel Messi is now the only man to have won the Ballon d'Or seven times. (Twitter: @francefootball)
By Nilavro Ghosh | Feb 18, 2022 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

According to La Liga president Javier Tebas, Lionel Messi’s transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain has had “zero” financial impact on Spain’s top flight. In the last four years, La Liga has lost Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. In September, Lionel Messi signed a free agent contract with PSG, while Cristiano Ronaldo joined Juventus in a 100 million euro transfer from Real Madrid in 2018.

Asked if La Liga had suffered a negative financial impact by Messi’s departure, Tebas said, “No. Zero. A one-off departure by a star or two, just as it happened with Cristiano [Ronaldo] doesn’t affect [us]. If you look at it, Serie A did not grow with Cristiano.”

Messi’s departure, Tebas said at the time, was particularly “painful” for LaLiga. He did say, however, that LaLiga is in a good position now.

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“We signed [in May 2021] an eight-year [rights] agreement with ESPN,” Tebas said. “Do you think they know who will play in LaLiga in eight years’ time? Neither they nor anyone knows that. But they know it’s a financially sound league and that there will always be good players.”

Due to the strict fair-play regulations, Barcelona’s high salaries made it difficult to assemble a squad. Barcelona’s salary cap for 2021-22 has been reduced to 97 million euros, making it more than seven times smaller than Real Madrid’s.

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On the European Super League

Meanwhile, despite plans collapsing last year after Premier League clubs withdrew in response to a hostile reaction from supporters and governments over the creation of a new European league that would break away from UEFA’s established Champions League competition, Tebas said the threat of a European Super League competition remains. Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus have all pushed for it in the past.

Asked if the Super League was dead, Tebas said: “No. [Real Madrid president] Florentino [Perez] never loses, I’ve known him for many years. The Super League is not a tournament, it’s a concept from many years ago that the big clubs in Europe must decide and rule in world football.”