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Messi: Free kicks 'lucky'

Barcelona
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Liga chief hopes Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo not tempted by China moves

La Liga president Javier Tebas has said he hopes stars such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are not tempted to move to the big-spending Chinese Super League for a while.

Tebas, speaking at an event in Singapore, said he believed the league could soon take its place among world football's top competitions.

But he said he did not want to see La Liga legends like Barcelona's Messi and Real Madrid's Ronaldo stars moving there just yet.

Atletico Madrid forward Jackson Martinez joined Guangzhou Evergrande for €42 million as Chinese clubs spent a total of €331 million on new players in the winter transfer window.

But Tebas said: "You'll have to ask them [Messi and Ronaldo] that [whether they would go to China] -- but I certainly hope not. There are enough football stars to go around.

"Even though some improvement is needed at the moment, the Chinese Super League is slowly raising its standard.

"And in a few years, if the standard is better, it can become among the top in the world. All of us will reap the benefits, because it means we can work together to increase standards."

Tebas added that Chinese investment in La Liga, where Wanda Group, owned by billionaire Wang Jianlin, has a 20 percent stake in Atletico, was a "good opportunity" for Spanish clubs.

"It allows the teams to have an increased profile in China," he added.

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