La Liga president Javier Tebas acknowledges that Neymar’s summer departure from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain has had an effect on La Liga, but claims it would be a “bigger blow” for Spain’s top flight to lose Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.
PSG broke the world transfer record by signing Neymar from Barcelona for €222 million in August.
Tebas has been highly critical of PSG’s summer spending and recently accused the French giants of infringing financial fair play rules.
French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet has defended PSG’s spending policy and claimed that other clubs and leagues are jealous.
Asked how Neymar’s departure impacted La Liga, Tebas told Europa Press: “Not so much. La Liga is above players. Messi and Cristiano are the ones that have grown it and the ones that have made us what we are today because they have been with us for many years. Their departure would be a bigger blow.”
Recently voted the Best FIFA Men’s Player for the second year running, Ronaldo is in his ninth season at Real Madrid.
The Portugal captain signed a five-year contract extension a year ago to remain at the Santiago Bernabeu until June 2021. The 32-year-old, who joined Madrid from Manchester United for €94 million in the summer of 2009, said it would not be his “last contract as a player.”
Reports in Spain claim that Ronaldo wants to leave Madrid at the end of the season because he is “disappointed” with the new contract offer the Spanish club have presented him.
“He’s got a contract signed for many years and he signed it to fulfil it,” Tebas said of Ronaldo. “I don’t know, it seems like this is the 19th time that they [the media] say that he is going. I’m not going to discuss this.”
Tebas, meanwhile, says there is no danger of seeing Messi leave Barcelona any time soon.
Messi agreed to a four-year contract extension with Barca in July, with his current deal ending next summer. However, no official ceremony took place, leading to speculation that the Argentina captain has not signed the documents.
“Messi has a new contract and that is what FC Barcelona have revealed,” Tebas said. “Contracts become official when they are signed and not when one says that they have been signed. I believe he has signed, if I’m not being deceived, he has signed it.”
Mundo Deportivo claimed this week that Neymar could return to La Liga in 2021 and join Madrid, just as Ronaldo’s contract with the club expires.
Asked about that possibility, Madrid midfielder Casemiro said his Brazil teammate Neymar would be a great addition to the side.
He told Cadena Cope after Brazil’s goalless draw with England on Tuesday: “He’s a ‘crack’ [a genius]. He knows what he is doing, and he will always be welcome at Real Madrid. I hope he comes, but he is happy at his club.”
Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba, though, cannot envision Neymar in a Madrid jersey.
He told Cadena Ser: “I cannot imagine Neymar wearing white [Madrid colours]. Anything can happen in football, but knowing him, I just cannot imagine it.”
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.