The head of Spain’s La Liga said the cashed-up Chinese Super League wasn’t far from becoming one of the world’s top football competitions — but he hopes Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo aren’t headed there just yet.
Speaking in Singapore, La Liga president Javier Tebas also told AFP that he welcomed China’s burgeoning interest in football, which includes investments in Spain’s Atletico Madrid and Espanyol.
Atletico’s Colombian striker Jackson Martinez, signed for 42 million euros ($47 million) by Guangzhou Evergrande, was one of the big signings in China’s lavish spree during the recent transfer window.
But Tebas said he hoped Barcelona and Real Madrid superstars Messi and Ronaldo weren’t about to join China’s growing band of expensive foreign imports.
“You’ll have to ask them that but I certainly hope not,” he said during a visit to Singapore, adding: “There are enough football stars to go around.”
“Even though some improvement is needed at the moment, it’s slowly raising its standard,” Tebas, speaking through a translator, said of the Chinese Super League.
“And in a few years, if the standard is better, it can become among the top in the world. All of us will reap the benefits because it means we can all work together to increase standards.”
A pre-retirement stint would be more likely for Messi and Ronaldo if they were tempted by China, although reports have also linked some of football’s biggest names to CSL clubs.
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