Messi is missed by football – LaLiga chief in Ligue 1 jibe as he urges Barcelona return

By Sports Desk November 02, 2022

Lionel Messi is "missed by football" because at Paris Saint-Germain he does not have the same audience as at Barcelona, according to LaLiga president Javier Tebas.

Messi left Barca in 2020 after the club's financial issues led to a significantly reduced salary limit in LaLiga, thus preventing them re-signing him after his contract expired.

He moved to PSG and, after a somewhat underwhelming first season on an individual level, Messi is thriving again this season.

But Tebas' perception is Messi is wasted in Ligue 1 because it does not have the same global audience as LaLiga and Barcelona.

Speaking at the Sports Summits organised by Argentinian newspaper Ole, Tebas said: "I think Messi is not only missed in LaLiga, he is missed by football because the French league is what it is, right?

"I think that no matter how many [superstars] are at PSG, Messi is followed much less than when he was at Barcelona. Let's hope he has a great World Cup, because there we will all be able to see him again.

"I don't see all the fans watching PSG against Nantes, I don't see it. With Barca it's the opposite."

Messi's future has become a hot topic again in recent weeks, with speculation beginning to swirl regarding his next destination.

The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked with a move to MLS side Inter Miami, PSG want to renew his contract, and Barcelona are reportedly aiming to bring him back to Camp Nou.

 

Tebas could not offer any insight, but he was unequivocal in what he thinks Messi should do.

"I don't know if Messi will have one last show at Barca, that will depend on him," he continued.

"Hopefully he will come back. Above all it would also be good for him to return to Spanish football, especially to the team that has always been the team that birthed him.

"I think [leaving] was a mistake even for him, in my opinion, breaking up a marriage that was a very beneficial long-term alliance for Messi and for Barca itself."

Tebas' critical Ligue 1 comments come at a time when LaLiga's own reputation is hardly sky-high.

For the first time this century, Spain will have only one representative in the knockout stages of the Champions League after Atletico Madrid, Barca and Sevilla were all eliminated in the groups.

LaLiga was once considered the Premier League's biggest rival, but the English top flight has since moved to a level of its own in economic terms.

However, Tebas feels LaLiga still holds its own compared to the Premier League in a sporting sense.

"It is difficult for us to reach the Premier League economically, due to a population issue, but at a technological and sporting level, we are competing," he said.

"It is not necessary to see what happened last season or what may happen in this one, you have to see the last 10 seasons or more.

"Since the beginning of the century, LaLiga has won 35 European titles between the Champions League and Europa League [and Super Cup], and the Premier has won 13.

"And in the last 10 seasons LaLiga has won 60 per cent of the titles. I think we are not bad and we can withstand the pull of the Premier League, despite the fact that economically they may be stronger.

"We must remember this and not only look at how the Champions League group stage has finished this season."

Related items

  • Georgia draw 'not enough' for Czechia, says goalscorer Schick Georgia draw 'not enough' for Czechia, says goalscorer Schick

    Patrik Schick believes Czechia's 1-1 draw with Georgia was "not enough" but has pledged the team will do everything to advance to the last 16 in their final group game at Euro 2024.

    Schick's equaliser ensured Czechia avoided a second successive defeat on Saturday, cancelling out Georges Mikautadze's penalty in an entertaining affair.

    Schick, who netted five times at Euro 2020 to tie Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the goalscoring charts, is now his country's all-time leading marksman at the Euros with six goals, overtaking Milan Baros outright. No player has matched his return across the last two editions of the tournament.

    However, Czechia will be lamenting a host of missed chances after firing off 27 shots to Georgia's five, hitting the target 12 times – the most by any team to fail to win a Euros match on record (since 1980).

    They could have been hit with a sucker punch in second-half stoppage time, but Georgia's Saba Lobjanidze fired over when played clean through on goal.

    "Of course, 1-1 is not enough for us. We were better, we had more chances," the Bayer Leverkusen striker said.

    "We were able to equalise, we were going at them but we were not able to score a second goal and in the end we made a stupid mistake and could have lost. 

    "We have a point. We have to play for everything in the last match."

    The draw leaves both teams on one point with one game remaining. Czechia face Turkiye in their final Group F match, while Georgia take on Portugal.

    Czechia accumulated 3.11 expected goals (xG) to their opponents' 1.09, with Lobjanidze's late miss coming from an opportunity valued at 0.16 xG.

    Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili said of Lobjanidze's chance: "He was the one who wanted to score most of all, but it didn't work out. 

    "He needs to continue training and playing, he's a great football player and he will definitely score a goal in the coming matches.

    "Of course, it was a very important moment, but he needs to keep going. He should be proud because we earned our first point.

    "From above, everything seems easier, but it is very difficult to perform in those situations because you have less time than it seems. Whatever he did, he did it right, but he didn't score."

    Mamardashvili was named Man of the Match after making 11 saves, a tally that has only once been bettered in a Euros match since 1980, by Latvia's Alexanders Kolinko versus the Netherlands in 2004 (12).

  • Norris celebrates 'pretty much the perfect lap' after pipping Verstappen to pole Norris celebrates 'pretty much the perfect lap' after pipping Verstappen to pole

    Lando Norris celebrated "pretty much the perfect lap" after he claimed pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen.

    McLaren's Norris set the best time of 1:11.383 in Barcelona on Saturday, which had started dismally for the team when their hospitality facilities had to be evacuated due to a fire.

    Norris, who was 0.2 seconds quicker than Verstappen, showed no sign of distraction though, and with all staff having been safely ushered from any danger, it was a day to celebrate for the team, whose second driver Oscar Piastri rounded out the top 10 despite failing to set a time in Q3.

    "It was pretty much a perfect lap, when you are on a good lap and getting excited but the whole thing went perfectly in the end," he said.

    "It was close but super happy, it was my best pole position, I've not had many. We've been close all weekend but really this was about a perfect lap and that is what I did today.

    "It's not just this weekend, we've been quick the last two months, and since Miami we've been very strong.

    "We probably missed out on pole by not doing a perfect lap but today was the perfect lap."

    It was also a good day for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, who qualified in third, one place ahead of team-mate George Russell.

    Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz placed fifth and sixth respectively.

    Top 10

    1. Lando Norris (McLaren) 

    2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

    3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

    4. George Russell (Mercedes)

    5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

    6. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

    7. Pierre Gasly (Alpine)

    8. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

    9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

    10. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)

  • Georgia 1-1 Czechia: Lobjanidze spurns last-gasp golden opportunity for Euros debutants Georgia 1-1 Czechia: Lobjanidze spurns last-gasp golden opportunity for Euros debutants

    Georgia and Czhecia will fight until the final matchday of Group F to progress to the last 16 after a 1-1 draw in Hamburg, where Saba Lobjanidze missed a golden chance late on.

    Patrik Schick, who shared the Golden Boot with Cristiano Ronaldo at Euro 2020, restored parity midway through the second half on Saturday, cancelling out Georges Mikautadze's opener from the penalty spot.

    Georgia's goal came on the stroke of half-time, after Robin Hranac was adjudged to have handled in Czechia's area after a VAR check.

    That came after VAR had denied Adam Hlozek an opener for Czechia, with the ball having struck his arm on its way in.

    Schick had no such trouble with the technology when he bundled home at the back post in the 59th minute, though.

    The Bayer Leverkusen striker hobbled off through injury soon after, and Czechia looked all set to slip to a second defeat right at the end when Georgia broke, only for Lobjanidze to fire over in a one-v-one with the final kick of the game.

    It would have been a stunning smash-and-grab for the tournament debutants, with their goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili having made a tournament-record 11 saves, who must now beat Portugal if they are to stand a chance of making the knockouts.

    Data Debrief: Schick the Euros sharpshooter

    Schick has now scored six goals across the last two Euros, ahead of Ronaldo (five) and Harry Kane (five).

    The 28-year-old has the second-best goals per minute ratio (0.86) in Euros history, of players to play at least five times in the competition, with only Michel Platini (1.8).

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.