Lionel Messi leaving Barça only possible if other clubs used 'financial doping,' La Liga president says
- The La Liga president says it would be "financial doping" if either Manchester City or PSG signed Lionel Messi.
- Javier Tebas said no European club could afford to sign Messi on similar terms to his previous deal.
- The Barcelona legend is currently a free agent after his contract expired last month.
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La Liga president Javier Tebas says it would be the result of "financial doping" were either Manchester City or Paris Saint Germain to sign Lionel Messi with similar terms to his previous Barcelona deal.
The six-time Ballon d'Or winner is currently a free agent after his contract with the Catalan club expired on June 30.
The details of Messi's contract were leaked to Spanish newspaper El Mundo newspaper in January and it revealed the Argentine star earned $658 million (around R9.5 trillion) over four seasons, making him one of the best paid athletes in the world.
Speaking in a call with UK media, per Sky Sports, Tebas said he expects Messi to sign a new deal with Barcelona, but take a big pay cut as the team tries to comply with Spanish soccer's salary limits.
"He won't be able to sign on the previous conditions, that's impossible. I don't think any European club would be able to pay that amount." said Tebas.
Barcelona has exceeded La Liga's strict salary limit, Goal reported this week, and needs to reduce its wage bill by 200 million euros ($237 million) per year in order to register Messi, as well summer signings Memphis Depay, Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia, and Emerson Royal.
Ever since Messi's failed attempt to leave the club last year, he has been linked with a move to either Manchester City or PSG, two state-owned clubs, but Tebas said even football's two richest clubs could not afford Messi without the player taking a pay cut, or some financial shenanigans.
"City have lost 270 million euros so obviously they wouldn't even consider signing Messi [on the salary he commanded at Barcelona].
"PSG have had losses, too, so they can't even consider signing Messi [on similar terms].
"If they do, it will be financial doping. It would be incredible if it happened. We need to establish limits. Financial doping is damaging football." said Tebas, referring to the process of borrowing heavily to fund player purchases and salaries in soccer.
The La Liga chief also claimed money generated outside of football being pumped into the game is ruining the sport.
"It's not real money because it's not generated by the clubs. Money not from football causes bad inflation and ruins football because clubs must put in all this effort [to compete], which takes them above their financial capacity.
"We have to fight against this. This is one of the pending issues in European football. If it's not solved, the game will find itself in a very complicated situation." said Tebas.
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