'Neymar dreamed of playing against Messi' - Super League 'could start in five months' as general secretary defends competition

Lionel Messi Neymar
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One of the men involved in the creation of the new competition says that one of their goals is to win back the interest of the younger generation

Super League general secretary Anas Laghrari has defended the competition by insisting that the best players in the world will have the chance to regularly play against each other.

Plans for a new tournament to directly rival the Champions League were released over the past few days, with 12 of Europe's biggest clubs included in the proposed breakaway.

And, following widespread condemnation, Laghrari has sought to explain the reasoning behind the Super League, insisting that they are creating a tournament that "makes people dream".

What's been said?

"We want to create [a platform for] the best football. A competition that everyone wants to see, that makes people dream," general secretary Laghrari told Le Parisien .

"The younger generations are less interested in football, they focus on playing on their console or whatever and only log in for the big games. But these big games rarely happen.

"There is also a frustration among players who want to play these big games against these great players. Neymar dreamed of playing against [Lionel] Messi.

"He was injured [in the 2020-21 Champions League round of 16] and maybe will not ever be able to play against Messi again.

"We are ready to sit around a table [with UEFA], we only ask for a dialogue. In case of disagreement? Everything could start in five months."

Which other clubs have signed up?

In addition to Barcelona, La Liga will also be represented in the Super League by Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, with Juventus, Inter and Milan completing the Serie A contingent.

Premier League clubs make up the final six spots, with Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham all on board, but three more founding teams are expected to join in the coming weeks.

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Porto have ruled out participating in the breakaway, but Laghrari insists that no one has rejected the proposal completely as of yet.

"No one has refused an invitation at this stage," he said.

What else has the general secretary said?

Laghrari went on to express his belief that the current Champions League format does not provide the top clubs with enough financial security.

"Football is an area that doesn't make money. There is real frustration with this unstable system, based on a club's results in the Champions League," he said.

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"A manager makes a three-year plan, but he can have a difference of several hundred million euros depending on results. We have a solidarity committee that will oversee the distribution of funds and ensure transparency.

"We are talking about 400 million euros, it's huge."

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