LaLiga president Javier Tebas said the Spanish top flight would not have suffered losses had Barcelona star Leo Messi decided to leave Camp Nou while also warning of a financial crisis should the coronavirus pandemic force football to stop again.
Messi handed in a transfer request following a tumultuous 2019-20 season, which saw Barça humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals and dethroned by Real Madrid in LaLiga, before the six-time Ballon d’Or winner opted to remain at Camp Nou this term. The 33-year-old – who has a €700million release clause – was heavily linked to Premier League giants Manchester City, while Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Inter also emerged as possible destinations. Asked about Messi, Tebas told reporters: “As I always said, I will always want to see Messi in LaLiga. If he stays at Barcelona, much better for Barcelona. “The union between Barcelona FC and Messi is so good for Barca, for Messi and for LaLiga. I’m not sure whether departing from Barcelona would have been a good idea for Messi. “Maybe yes as a player, but not for Messi as a football industry, because Messi is a machine in creating industry around him. Not sure whether it would have worked for him. “Messi will finally stay but I must say that we had already sold LaLiga TV rights worldwide for the next four years and nobody called us asking to cancel that agreement in case Messi would leave. No one.” The covid-19 crisis forced the 2019-20 LaLiga season to be suspended in March before the league resumed behind closed doors in June, with Madrid winning the title. The 2020-21 LaLiga campaign has kicked off but coronavirus cases are rising across Spain and Europe. “We are reading in the newspapers that the economical activity cannot be stopped again, there must be a balance between the health and the financial aspect,” said Tebas. “If not, we could move from a health pandemic into a financial pandemic, which would be really dangerous.”