LaLiga president Javier Tebas says Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid exit in 2018 had no impact on the league but Lionel Messi’s departure will be felt more.
Ronaldo joined Real Madrid in 2009 and went on to become their all-time leading goalscorer.
He enjoyed a thrilling domestic rivalry with Messi as they battled each season for every individual and team honour.
But despite losing Ronaldo to Juventus, Tebas said the switch to Italy had ‘almost no impact’.
“Ronaldo’s departure, even if they are upset in Madrid, had almost no impact because in LaLiga we have been preparing for years for the LaLiga brand to go beyond the players,” Tebas said in an interview with RAC1.
“Messi’s case is different. Messi is the best player in the history of football. We’ve been lucky enough to always have him in our league. I think Messi’s exit would be noticed.”
Tebas went further to praise Messi and heralded the Argentine forward as an ‘icon’ in Spanish football history.
Tebas’ comments do not ring true in Madrid with Los Blancos desperately struggling to replace the goals void left by Ronaldo.
Eden Hazard has arrived but has had a tough first season and both Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale have not managed to step up in Ronaldo’s absence.
The former Manchester United star, who has five Ballon d’Or awards to Messi’s six, scored 451 goals in 438 appearances for Madrid. It meant he departed the Bernabeu averaging more than a goal a game.
He scored 312 goals in LaLiga, 105 in the Champions League, 22 in the Copa del Rey, six in the Club World Cup, four in the Spanish Super Cup and two in the UEFA Super Cup.
During his time in Spain, Ronaldo went on to win four Champions League, three Club World Cups, three UEFA Super Cups, two LaLiga titles, two Copas del Rey and two Spanish Super Cups.
Ronaldo, now 35, has been setting records in the black and white of Juventus and is looking to deliver both a record-equalling ninth consecutive Serie A title as well as their first Champions League trophy since 1996.
He won the competition three straight times from 2016-18 with Madrid and has won it five times altogether.
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