Kolkata, Sep 7 (IANS) LaLiga President Javier Tebas said on Monday that he hopes Lionel Messi ends his career at FC Barcelona, admitting that they were worried about the superstar leaving the club at one point of time.
Argentine forward Messi ended speculation last week about his future at the Catalan giants by announcing that he would stay for another season, though reluctantly, rather than fight his club in a court of law.
Messi, 33, had informed Barcelona that he wanted to leave the club on a free transfer, according to a clause in his contract.
But both Barcelona and LaLiga stood firm, saying that Messi’s contract with the club was valid and any club interested in his services would have to pay the club 700m euro as per the buyout clause in its entirety.
Messi then decided to stay on for the next 10 months, but took a swipe at the club’s hierarchy.
“We were worried but not seriously worried. We want Messi to be with us obviously,” Tebas said during a global press conference arranged by LaLiga on Youtube Live.
“I have always said that he is probably the best player in the history of football. He has been with the club for 20 years. As President of LaLiga, I would like Messi to end his days in our competition,” he said.
Tebas added that although Messi is huge, the league is bigger than just an individual or a club.
“But anyway, we have been working for many years now. LaLiga’s institution is a brand… it has to be above individual players and clubs. Twenty years in the history of the league…we were worried if he was going to leave, but anyway we are so pleased that he is going to stay with us,” Tebas said.
The 2020-21 LaLiga season will start from September 11 with a game between Granada and Athletic Club. The first El Clasico of the season between Barcelona and Real Madrid will be played on October 25, followed by the return leg on April 11.
The season will start in empty stadia due to the coronavirus crisis and Tebas said they are hopeful of welcoming back the fans by February next year.
The Global virtual event ‘LaLiga 20-21 Kickoff’ was also attended by Andres Iniesta, Iker Casillas, Fernando Sanz, Fernando Morientes, Luis Garcia, Gaizka Mendieta and Samuel Eto’o.
“It’s going to be an emotional and interesting league. I think that it is still the No. 1 league. I have had the opportunity to play for many years in LaLiga. The talent that we have in our league is incredible. Let’s hope it’s a year we are going to enjoy a lot,” Barcelona and Spain legend Iniesta said.