Tebas advises Messi to stay put while ruling out Mbappe and Haaland moves

By Sports Desk March 24, 2021

Lionel Messi is "the best player in history" and should stay at Barcelona, claims LaLiga president Javier Tebas, who laughed off the suggestion of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland joining a Spanish club.

On Sunday, Messi overtook Xavi as the player with the most appearances for Barca, six days after the 33-year-old scored a 20th LaLiga player for the 13th successive season – another record.

The Argentina forward has been involved in more goals in 2021 than any other player across Europe's 'top five' leagues, but he still has not tied his future to the Catalan club, who he wished to leave in 2020.

Messi elected to stay and see out the last year of his contract, but his future remains up in the air with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain interested.

Tebas has consistently urged Messi to remain in Spain but has also refuted the suggestion LaLiga would suffer markedly without the Barca star, citing examples of Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo leaving for PSG and Juventus respectively.

He reiterated those comments on Wednesday, suggesting Messi would damage his "brand" by moving to another club.

"If I were Messi's advisor I would tell him, 'Stay at Barca'," Tebas told reporters.

"I want Messi to stay. He is the best player in history. If you are thinking about his last years of football, he should continue to be linked to the Barcelona brand.

"He started at Barcelona and I think he should continue at Barca. If I was his advisor, I would tell him he must do everything possible to stay at Barca."

While Messi continues to break records at Barca, his era of dominance in European football appears to be coming to an end.

Mbappe and Haaland are the players seemingly destined to take the baton from Messi and Ronaldo, with the Borussia Dortmund and PSG stars already having been pitted against each other by media outlets across the continent.

Mbappe, 22, hit his 100th Ligue 1 goal in a 4-2 win over Lyon on Sunday, while 20-year-old Haaland has been in sensational form since breaking through with Salzburg last season.

Between them, the duo have shared 41 goals in all competitions this season (21 for Haaland, 20 for Mbappe), while they have both converted 17 of the 27 "big chances" they have been afforded at a rate of 62.96 per cent.

Often utilised in a wide role for PSG, Mbappe has provided six assists and crafted 25 chances. Haaland has also proved his worth from a creative standpoint, teeing up four goals and forging 19 opportunities for team-mates to score.

Mbappe has often been linked with a move to Barca or Real Madrid but is in talks with PSG over a new deal, while Haaland is reportedly a priority target for Pep Guardiola's City, and Tebas sees little chance of either player moving to LaLiga.

"How, with a magic trick?" Tebas quipped when asked of the likelihood of seeing Mbappe or Haaland playing in Spain.

"Barca have to move out many players to bring a star, Madrid are not in position to do it either. Apart from the clubs owned by nation states, everyone has financial issues."

Related items

  • Melbourne Victory 1-2 Macarthur: Bulls rally to reach third Melbourne Victory 1-2 Macarthur: Bulls rally to reach third

    Macarthur came from behind to claim an entertaining 2-1 win at Melbourne Victory and climb to third in the A-League.

    In the sides' first ever meeting, the Bulls made the most of their hosts' defensive woes, although they scored with two of only three shots on target.

    Victory led against the run of play when Rudy Gestede – deemed just onside by a VAR review – won a header to play in Elvis Kamsoba, who blasted in his second goal of the season from the left side of the area.

    That advantage lasted only eight minutes, however, as Markel Susaeta's shot from a tight angle deflected off Nicholas Ansell and high past Matthew Acton.

    The struggling home side then enjoyed their best spell with a series of chances, including a Jake Brimmer free-kick that bounced away off the crossbar.

    But Macarthur, who finished with 59.9 per cent of the possession, were back in control after half-time.

    Although James Meredith handled before Jake McGing scored, seeing the goal ruled out, the guilty party made amends when he headed in himself from Benat Etxebarria's corner.

    That goal was the 50th Victory have conceded this season – by far the most in the division – and it settled the match despite a late opportunity for Gestede from which Adam Federici saved well.

  • Mourinho suits Serie A and can be success at Roma, says ex-Inter star Mourinho suits Serie A and can be success at Roma, says ex-Inter star

    Jose Mourinho is a good fit in Serie A and could be the man to take Roma back to the top, according to former Inter midfielder Ciriaco Sforza.

    Mourinho was this week appointed as Roma's head coach for next season, replacing Paulo Fonseca.

    It is a return to Italy for a coach who celebrated the treble with Inter in 2009-10 before departing, having also won the league in the previous campaign.

    Mourinho won 62.0 per cent of his 108 games in charge of the Nerazzurri, yet standards have since slipped.

    The Portuguese lasted only 86 matches at Tottenham, winning a disappointing 51.2 per cent, before his dismissal last month.

    But Sforza, who reached the 1997 UEFA Cup final with Inter, believes both Mourinho and Italian football can benefit from their reunion.

    For Roma, who are without a Scudetto in 20 years and have not claimed a major trophy since 2008, the appointment might herald a long-awaited era of success.

    "Mourinho is Mourinho. He will always remain the 'Special One'," Sforza told Stats Perform.

    "You can't turn down an offer by AS Roma, and Italy is also a country where he has won everything. I also think that Mourinho fits in well in Italy mentality-wise.

    "Roma is a team with a big tradition and they will build a new stadium. They have fantastic fans, so that fits.

    "I also wish him the best of luck because he carries football in his heart. He always wants to win, he has this mentality. And this is great for Serie A.

    "Italy needs people like this, Italy needs talent, which they have in the national team but they also need it in the teams.

    "When you look at Roma, they always have big talents that don't progress. I think they will be able to progress now with Mourinho."

    The Giallorossi have 27 points to make up to Inter, however, with Mourinho's former club confirmed as Serie A champions on Sunday.

    It was Inter's first title since Mourinho's treble triumph, but Antonio Conte's record at San Siro is marginally even more impressive than that of his old rival.

    Conte has won 62.2 per cent of his 98 games in charge, putting an end to Juventus' run of nine straight Scudetti.

    Asked if he had anticipated this success, Sforza said: "To be honest, no. I know what it is like at Inter at the moment, there is a little bit of turmoil.

    "But Conte and his coaching staff have managed to bring in this discipline, this hunger and winning mentality. He did that with brilliance.

    "He followed his line and not the line of journalists and that brought him the success.

    "I think they can establish themselves there, because they have a great manager, who knows what he wants and what he is capable of.

    "I think through the support of the fans, the 'tifosi', and I think there will be support arriving in summer, they will do well and fight for the title again."

  • Pakistan out to continue Test run as Zimbabwe bid to end Harare drought Pakistan out to continue Test run as Zimbabwe bid to end Harare drought

    Pakistan will be aiming to extend their winning run in Test cricket when they take on Zimbabwe in the second and final match of the series, which starts on Friday.

    Babar Azam's side crushed their hosts by an innings at the Harare Sports Club in the previous meeting, making it three victories on the spin in the format.

    Another success at the same venue will see Pakistan achieve their best Test-win streak since managing five consecutive triumphs between December 2011 and February 2012.

    Zimbabwe, in contrast, have not prevailed on home soil since September 2013, recording two draws and eight defeats since that last success over Pakistan.

    Their problems in the opener stemmed from a lack of runs; bowled out for 176 first time around, they managed just 134 in the second innings.

    No home player registered a half-century as Pakistan pace bowler Hasan Ali finished with nine wickets in the match to help his team charge over the line inside three days.

    Pakistan could even afford for skipper Babar to get a first-ball duck as they piled up 426 in their one and only innings, Fawad Alam leading the way with 140 as he showed Zimbabwe how to play on a sluggish pitch, batting for nearly five hours in total.

    The all-rounder's century was his third in five Tests, having made 102 against New Zealand last December and then 109 in the first Test with South Africa in Karachi in January.

    Prince Masvaure did not bat for Zimbabwe in their second innings due to a thumb injury that rules him out of contention. However, captain Sean Williams could be fit to return to action, while Craig Ervine and Wesley Madhevere may also be back to bolster the home team's line-up.

     

    Hasan on the rise

    Pace bowler Hasan claimed career-best figures of 5-36 in Zimbabwe's second innings, his third five-wicket haul in Test cricket in 2021. Indeed, he has taken 21 scalps at an average of just 15.5 in the format this calendar year.

    His reward is a move up to 20th in the ICC Test rankings for bowlers, having only been recalled to the XI earlier this year for the home series with South Africa after a two-year spell out in the cold.

    Taylor-made milestone in sight

    Zimbabwe's stand-in captain Brendan Taylor admitted his team failed to capitalise on the opportunity to bat first after winning the toss in the opener, bundled out inside two sessions.

    He will hope to contribute more himself, particularly with a landmark in sight. Taylor is 66 away from becoming only the third man to post 1,000 Test runs at Harare Sports Club, a feat only previously achieved by Andy and Grant Flower.

    Key match facts

    - Zimbabwe have managed to record one multi-game Test series victory over Pakistan (D1, L5); after going 0-1 down in this two-game series, they cannot improve upon that record this time around.
    - Pakistan have won five of the past six Tests between the nations, while Zimbabwe have gone six without success at Harare Sports Club (D1, L5).
    - Zimbabwe managed to catch nine of their 10 opportunities in the field during the series opener, while Pakistan dropped four catches and only recorded a 60 per cent success rate (6/10).
    - Donald Tiripano was responsible for eight of the 10 runs scored from reverse sweeps in the first Test; he has logged more runs from that stroke than any other batsman in Tests during 2021 (35).
    - Zimbabwe bowled 14 full tosses in their one innings in the series opener, almost three times the number Pakistan logged in their two attempts (five).

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.