The Barcelona captain asked to be released from the club last summer. Still, the Catalans refused to let him go on a free transfer, with Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter all reportedly interested in purchasing his services.

Javier Tebas wants Messi to stay in Spain

Lionel Messi has less than a year left in his contract with Barcelona, and LaLiga president Javier Tebas made it clear that he wants to see the Argentine stay in Spain after his deal comes to an end. The Barcelona captain asked to be released from the club last summer. Still, the Catalans refused to let him go on a free transfer, with Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter all reportedly interested in purchasing his services. “The player is indeed significant in one particular part of the world,” Tebas said. “A Japanese player or a Chinese player is better located in these countries.” With Wu Lei, Espanyol would be twice as prevalent in LaLiga as Real Madrid or Barcelona. “I would have preferred Messi to stay, but itis not a matter of life and death. We closed the television deals for four years.”

“It’s a fact that we sold our international TV rights for the next four seasons. Even if Messi leaves, we still sold them, and we have three years to recover”. Several superstars, including Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo, have left Spain to join other leagues in the past few seasons, but Tebas denied that LaLiga had lost its value. “I have heard that many times, but LaLiga does not lose value,” Tebas added. “I’d much rather have these players play here. I prefer them to go for tax reasons than anything else. We run the league better than England. Still, they have 77 million inhabitants, with a larger TV audience and higher per capita income. Every weekend in England there are another 14 million more households who pay to watch English football. It is impossible to achieve that turnover.”