LaLiga president Javier Tebas has warned Lionel Messi he will “damage” his reputation if he departs Barcelona.
Tebas also turned on Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar for leaving the Spanish top flight.
Messi, 33, looked close to sealing a shock Manchester City transfer over the summer after an explosive falling out with Barcelona
He handed in a transfer request but stayed put – for one more season anyway.
And now he has been told by LaLiga’s top man what is at stake should he decide to go.
“We’ve been lucky to enjoy him for so many years but Messi should think very carefully about what he does next,” Tebas, 58, told AFP.
“If Messi left Barcelona, that reputation he has now and that has worked so well for him would be very damaged.
“It’s true he could get a better offer financially but the reputation he has after more than 20 years, I think he has to hold onto that.”
However, Tebas stopped short of conceding LaLiga would fall apart with the departure of another superstar.
Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018 and Neymar departed Messi and Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record £198m move the year before
Tebas insists it won’t be a ‘drama’ should another household name play elsewhere.
He added: “It wouldn’t be a drama. Cristiano Ronaldo left, Neymar left.
“Neymar went to PSG and I haven’t seen the French league reaching a super level because of him.
“That’s the reality. People who think the players are the ones who define a competition are wrong and I’m glad they think that way because they won’t grow.”
Messi will hope to come up against Ronaldo again in the Champions League when Barca play Juventus next week.
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