EL CLÁSICO - REAL MADRID-BARÇA
Tebas: “I support Real Madrid, I’d be a hypocrite not to admit this”
The president of La Liga, Javier Tebas sat down with AS at the La Liga HQ to analyze next Saturday’s, ‘El Clásico.
—Do you see a time when ‘El Clásico', doesn’t form part of the Spanish league?
—Never. Catalonia is part of Spain and Spain exists with Catalonia.
—Some while ago you alluded to La Liga games taking place away from Spain in the not too distant future. Could ‘El Clásico’ be one of these games?
—‘El Clásico’ will never be played outside of Spain. It’s a key game in our league competition and has huge international prestige. We’ll study the possibility of playing certain games outside of Spain but at present this initiative doesn’t form part of our international expansion plans.
—What audience does this game draw on a global level?
—Difficult to say as we’re talking about potential. It would get more than 500 million viewers, yes, I’d say between 500 and 600 million, which would be my rough estimate.
—Is the game available in every country?
—Yes, before the weekend we finally closed the deal relating to the Nordic countries.
—Would you like to see a ‘Clásico’ in women’s football?
—Yes, and not just the ‘Clásico’. I’d like to see more football club’s establishing a women’s team and that the likes of a ‘Clasico’ could generate the same level of anticipation and audience as the men’s game does.
—In the same way that it was claimed that former PM, Zapatero was a Barça fan, Rajoy supports Madrid and that Villar and Cardenal support Athletic, they say Tebas is a Real Madrid supporter.
—Clearly. If I say the contrary, that I support neither, then that would be hypocritical and I would be tainted as a liar. And I certainly don’t like to be called a liar. Imagine if I said that I loved all teams, and then it came out that I supported Madrid since I was a lad, went to 27 ‘Clásicos’ in the past, that I celebrated Madrid wins with friends in a bar... I prefer to call it as it is.
—However, in recent times you’ve been labeled as being an ‘Anti-madridista’.
—Yes, it’s been claimed that I’m anti-everything. When I talked about paying attribute to Messi at the Bernabéu, you wouldn’t believe the amount of grief I got. Or the time when I mentioned that Cristiano should be sanctioned for touching his genital area. And in Barcelona I’m slaughtered over the Independence issue, though in recent times, it’s true that I’ve been called an ‘Anti-madridista’ more than anything else...
—Is the Benzema situation damaging for the image of La Liga?
—I’d only ever offer my opinion on legal matters when it related to situations dealing with the governance of the game, relating to FIFA and UEFA matters. When it is a subject matter removed from the game , then I’d prefer not to offer my opinion. This is a private issue and is an unpleasant matter for the player and all those who admire him. It’s a matter not linked with the game of football..
— Apart from being excellent players on the pitch, how do you see Cristiano and Messi?
—We’ve met up in various gala events. They are two players aware of the responsibility they hold in a social capacity. I’d say that they are two greats booth on and off the pitch..
—Do you hope Messi plays on Saturday?
—Yes, of course. As president of La Liga and as a football fan, that your team wins due to absences in the opponent line-up is not something I like. It would be bad news if he doesn’t play.
—Where do you plan to watch ‘El Clásico’?
—We’ve invited all the directors from our international rights partners to watch the game. We’ve also launched an event in central Madrid and that’s where I plan to be. I’m keen to see how Telefónica and Mediapro prepare ahead of a game like this. If I get enough time, I’ll go to the stadium. But I’ll b there in a working capacity, trying to improve the product we offer.
—Finally, come on, give us your prediction. How will the game end?
—I’d say we’ll have a three all draw on Saturday, the league table points to that. no?