Javier Tebas, La Liga President

La Liga president Javier Tebas says he is “ready” for the exit of Lionel Messi while criticising Manchester City, a club he believes could sign him.

The Argentine submitted a transfer request in August at Barcelona but backed down after they refused to sanction his release.

La Liga president, Tebas wants Messi to stay but believes La Liga would cope without him.

He argued that the competition had continued to thrive following Neymar’s 2017 departure from Barcelona to Paris St-Germain, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2018 move from Real Madrid to Juventus.

“We would prefer Messi to stay in La Liga but Ronaldo and Neymar left and we have not noticed any difference,” Tebas said. “We are ready.”

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The Argentina international, 33, would be available on a free transfer at the end of this season.

Tebas said that the most likely place where Messi would go is the Premier League and Manchester City precisely.

La Liga’s president has repeatedly criticised City, having previously made numerous allegations about their structure, including accusing them of financial doping, before they were cleared of serious FFP breaches by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in July.