- Javier Tebas revealed La Liga would have been rocked if Lionel Messi departed
- Messi recently commented that he considered leaving the Nou Camp in 2014
- The Argentinian became subject of a high-profile tax case which ended in a fine
Javier Tebas said it would have been a huge shock to La Liga should Messi have left Nou Camp
Messi was handed a 21-month prison sentence – then reduced to a £223,000 fine in July 2017
Barca legend Messi made the original comments at Cirque du Soleil’s latest show ‘Messi 10’
Barca have experienced a mixed to start to La Liga this term where they lie second in the table
Tebas was appointed La Liga president in 2013 before the Messi tax affair made the news
Messi has revelled in unprecedented success at Barcelona including 10 La Liga titles
La Liga president Javier Tebas has admitted he was left worried by Lionel Messi’s surprise admission that he thought about leaving Barcelona in 2014.
Messi is considered Barcelona’s greatest ever homegrown talent but his recent comments at his own Cirque du Soleil show sparked concern in the Spanish game.
The Argentinian became embroiled in a tax avoidance scandal in 2014 and confessed that the unsavoury experience made him consider his position at the Nou Camp.
(2004-05, 2005-06, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2012-13, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2017-18, 2018-19)
Five-time top scorer
(2009-10, 2011-12, 2013-14, 2016-17, 2018-19)
Three-time record assister
(2010-11, 2011-12, 2014-15)
La Liga chief Tebas revealed it would have been a massive blow to the Spanish top-flight to lose such an iconic figure in the game and the world’s No 1 player, along with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Addressing Messi’s remarks, Tebas said: ‘I got scared and (then) I was relieved to see that, just as well, he decided to stay. In this low moment, he decided to continue.’
Tebas added on the court case: ‘I don’t think there was cruelty, but they were unfair with him as a physical person.
‘It’s clear that he didn’t sign or didn’t read everything. They would tell him where to sign and he would do it.
‘I don’t read all the La Liga contracts otherwise I’d be there all day.
‘I’m convinced that it was an administrative issue and not criminal.’
Speaking in an interview with RAC1 which sparked Tebas’ comments, Messi said: ‘At that time, with the mess of the treasury, I wanted to leave, not for wanting to leave Barca but wanting to leave Spain.
‘I felt that I was being very mistreated and I didn’t want to stay here. I never had an official offer because everyone knew my idea to stay here.’
When pushed further on his tax fraud case, which ended with him having to pay a £223,000 fine, he added: ‘It was very difficult for me and my family because people don’t know much about what’s going on.
‘The truth is that it was hard for everything that happened but it is better that my children were small and did not know.’
When questioned about his future, Messi said: ‘Today my idea and that of my family is to end here.
‘Especially first because of how I am in the club, how I feel in the club, then because of the familiar, for how good we are in this city, for my children, for not changing my friendships and I don’t want it broken because I had to live it on my personal level.’
With Messi now having put the tax scandal behind him, secure in his position at the Nou Camp where he enjoys messianic status, Tebas spoke of his desire to attract the world’s biggest names to La Liga.
‘Neymar, (Jose) Mourinho, (Pep) Guardiola… there’s room for everyone,’ he said.
‘(Neymar) is at PSG and at the time the signing seemed unrealistic in this market and I think that the market still isn’t ready for it.’