Javier Tebas says Lionel Messi leaving La Liga would be a bigger loss than Cristiano Ronaldo

La Liga president Javier Tebas has a plea for Lionel Messi: Please don’t leave La Liga.

Tebas believes Messi leaving the league would hurt more than Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, according to ESPN. Messi, 32, is under contract with Barcelona until next summer. If Messi does not sign a new deal before then, he would be free to negotiate with other clubs, and could leave La Liga.

The 57-year-old Tebas desperately hopes Messi sticks around. Tebas called Messi “an icon of Spanish football,” and asked Messi to finish his career in La Liga. Tebas made those comments to RAC1. ESPN translated Tebas’ words.

Tebas went so far as to say Messi leaving would hurt La Liga more than Ronaldo’s departure in 2018.

"Cristiano's departure, even though it annoyed Madrid, had almost no impact because La Liga has spent years ensuring that the brand transcends the players," Tebas told RAC1 on Thursday.

"But Messi's case is different. Messi is the best player in the history of the game. We have been lucky to have him in La Liga for his whole career. I think you would notice Messi's departure -- especially if he went to another league.”

Tebas added Messi’s departure wouldn’t be a catastrophe, as La Liga has television deals that would keep it afloat.

It’s not the first time Tebas supported Messi over Ronaldo. In September, Tebas referred to Messi as “the best player in history.” Tebas doubled down on that opinion Thursday.

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