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Barcelona's Lionel Messi does not get special treatment - La Liga president

La Liga president Javier Tebas has rejected a claim from Atletico Madrid left-back Filipe Luis that both La Liga and the Spanish media "protect" Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

Filipe was shown a straight red card for a knee-high tackle on Messi during Atletico's 2-1 defeat to Barcelona last month -- being initially handed a three-match ban which was reduced to one match after an appeal.

The Brazil international this week said that the challenge had not been particularly dangerous, but he had been punished as the La Liga chiefs and Spanish media were over-protective of Messi due to the Blaugrana star's marketability.

Tebas replied in AS, saying that all players and clubs were treated equally by the Spanish authorities.

"For us all players are protected -- we do not make a difference between Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, or a Rayo Vallecano player," he said. "We are making a global Liga, we are just as concerned about the small clubs as the big ones."

Tebas also said that he did not understand how Real Madrid's fans had whistled the club's record goal scorer Ronaldo during Saturday's 7-1 win against Celta Vigo at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

"You must respect all people who go to the Bernabeu," he said. "But I would never whistle Cristiano for all he has given to Madrid, with his history he always deserves respect."

The Liga president has gone on record before to say he is a Real Madrid fan, but he admitted he expected Messi -- currently on 21 La Liga goals -- to catch Ronaldo (27) over the last 10 games of the season and claim the "pichichi" top scorer prize.

"I believe [Messi] is in an extraordinary moment of form, the best moment of his career, and I give him a better chance of being 'pichichi,'" Tebas said.

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