Signing Lionel Messi from Barcelona would not solve Serie A problems, says LaLiga president Javier Tebas

Ben Hayward
REUTERS

LaLiga president Javier Tebas believes it will take more than Barcelona forward Lionel Messi to solve Serie A's problems after the financial hit the Italian league has suffered due to coronavirus.

Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport has estimated that the league will lose around €700million due to the enforced break caused by Covid-19, and it has been suggested that Messi moving from Barca (with Inter Milan linked) would give Serie A a huge financial boost.

But speaking on a conference call with international journalists on Tuesday, Tebas said: "I don't know if Messi will continue or not in Spanish football. I think he isn't going to leave Spanish football, but what I can say is that he is not the solution for Italian football to get out of the crisis it is having.

"In each country, the situation is different in terms of how we are assuming this global crisis. The level of debt in Italian football, overall, in turnover, is very high.

"It is practically double what Spain has, double what the Bundesliga has, with lower turnover. That makes the situation of the Italian league, overall, much more serious than the German or Spanish leagues.

"Obviously, the solution is not to sign Messi. I believe that the solution to be taken by the Italian Serie A is to go another way. And I always speak in global terms, because each club has its own story.

"If we look at ratios of how much Serie A brings in and how much it sells, they are very stressful numbers overall for Italian football. It is there where they will suffer and that will not be resolved by bringing in Messi."

Tebas also hinted that losing Messi, who would be free to leave Barca for free at the end of the season if he wanted, might not make as big a difference to LaLiga as people think and revealed the league had continued to grow after Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid to sign for Juventus in 2018.

"Whether Spanish football has Messi or not, and I would like him to be here, but it has already happened to us with Cristiano Ronaldo," he said. "Everyone told us that we were going to have a drop in audiovisual rights and I am not going to give data today, but we are growing, even in Portugal we have grown.

"Having a player like that can help, but it is not something essential to grow."

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