Tebas wants Messi, Mourinho, Guardiola & Klopp in La Liga but says stars are ‘not essential’

Jose Mourinho Lionel Messi Pep Guardiola Jurgen Klopp
The president of Spanish football’s top tier is aware big names will help to raise the profile of a division that remains part of the global elite

La Liga president Javier Tebas admits he would like to have Lionel Messi, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Spanish top flight, but he also claims that superstars are “not essential” for the division’s image.

Of those mentioned above, Liverpool boss Klopp is the only one not to have spent any time in Spain during his distinguished career to date, while Barcelona icon Messi is the sole representative of La Liga in the present.

Mourinho, Guardiola and Ronaldo have all passed through before moving on to pastures new, with that trio currently plying their respective trades at Tottenham, Manchester City and Juventus.

If Tebas had his way, he would unite the finest players and coaches under one roof.

He is, however, adamant that La Liga will thrive with or without the world’s top talents, with there still a very real threat that six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi will walk away from Barca at some point in 2021.

“I want Messi in La Liga, just as I want Mourinho, Guardiola, Klopp, Cristiano,” Tebas said at the World Football Summit.

“They all help you grow. It’s not essential. They’re not as important as people say. Neymar left. It’s necessary to have a strategy, a player can help you, but it’s not essential.

“We’ve got the deals done for the next four seasons in nearly all territories. It can affect sponsorships somewhat, but we’ve really worked hard on the league’s brand and we wouldn’t notice it.

“I hope that Messi, who’s the best player ever, finishes his career here.”

If Messi were to move on at the end of his contract at Camp Nou, Tebas believes others will step up in his absence, while future transfer deals could also bring exciting talent – such as Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland – to La Liga.

“[Antoine] Griezmann is one of the biggest transfers ever in Spain and PSG and clubs in the Premier were after him,” Tebas said of those who could counter Messi’s departure.

“[Philippe] Coutinho hasn’t clicked yet, nor [Ousmane] Dembele. Madrid have [Karim] Benzema, one of the biggest stars in Europe. We’ll see where Haaland ends up next season.

“And now there are others besides Madrid and Barcelona. A league that is managed around bringing in a player is making a mistake.

“The Bundesliga has fallen 50 per cent in its international markets and has Haaland. You need to work really hard on [promoting] a league.

“We’ve got Wu Lei and in China the audiences are amazing and he’s in the Segunda Division. The stars can help you in certain regions. Not to be so global. To be global you need a good brand and a good product. We’re in 18 languages. You don’t create a league overnight.”