Messi would 'damage' reputation by joining Prem, warns Tebas as he attacks Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar for LaLiga exits
LIONEL MESSI has been warned he will "damage" his reputation if he moves to the Premier League.
LaLiga president Javier 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.
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The six-time Ballon d'Or winner 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.
Tebas, 58, told AFP: "We've been lucky to enjoy him for so many years but Messi should think very carefully about what he does next.
"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.
The Portuguese superstar has tested positive for coronavirus twice and faces a race against time to be fit for the clash.
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