The current contract for the 28-year-old at Madrid is set to expire at the end of the season 2020-21 and Zidane is unlikely to offer him a new deal. Javier Tebas said that Lionel Messi will be a bigger loss to La Liga than Cristiano Ronaldo and pleaded with the captain of Barcelona to remain in Spain.

Ronaldo played for Real Madrid for nine years, before joining Juventus for € 100 million in 2018. The transfer was seen as a setback to the international image of the Spanish League, with predictions at the time suggesting that it might even have financial consequences, but La Liga president Tebas said the international exit of Portugal had “nearly no impact.”

Manchester United and Arsenal are expected to keep tabs on the midfielder this summer, to sign him. In comparison, Tebas said the league would suffer as a result if Messi were to exchange Barca for another club outside of Spain.

Tebas told RAC1 on Thursday, “The departure of Christiano, although irritated by Madrid, had almost no effect since La Liga spent years ensuring that the brand transcends the players. But the situation with Messi is different. Messi is the Game’s best player in history. We’ve been lucky to have him for his entire career at La Liga.

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“But the situation with Messi is different. Messi is the Game’s best player in history. We’ve been lucky to have him for his entire career at La Liga. I think you ‘d note Messi ‘s departure especially if he was going to a different league. It wouldn’t be a disaster because we have TV deals signed with or without Messi, but it’s the value adds that is significant. Messi delights us forever,” he added.

For more than a decade the on-pitch rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo has been one of the main themes of the season, with the two sharing 11 of the last 12 Ballon d’Or trophies between them. In that time, only Luka Modric, in 2018, managed to crack the hegemony.

Messi, who turns 33 next week, will be out of contract next summer and will be free to negotiate with possible suitors in January if he fails to sign a new deal.

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