Hyderabad: Former Real Madrid player and the director of ambassadors project, La Liga, Fernando Sanz felt that the departures of the biggest stars from La Liga Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi do not affect the brand of La Liga and El Clasico.
This Sunday’s El Clasico will be played without either of the superstars Ronaldo and Messi for the first time in a long time but the La Liga organizers are confident of continuing the legacy. “It doesn’t affect the brand of the La Liga or El Clasico. When Ronaldo left Real, we still could see the figures increase. Same with Messi. We witnessed 600mn people live for our big match. So it doesn’t affect the brand. The brands of Real and Barca are more powerful than players. The clubs have more than 100 years’ of history. We are still growing in terms of sponsors, people who are watching it,” said Fernando.
Barcelona are struggling in putting their campaign on track while Real are far better in their league so far. But Fernando, who played for Real Madrid for a major part of his career, felt the game will be tough despite Barca not having a good run in the league so far. “Barcelona have a lot of talent in players like Ansu Fati, Ousmane Dembele. There is no doubt they will put their best team in the league given that is their biggest rivals on the pitch.”
In the absence of Messi, the former centre back feels Fati is the right guy who could lead Barcelona’s charge in the No.10 jersey. “There are a couple of players in Fati and Dembele who can be Barcelona’s next flag bearers in the absence of Messi. Fati has been fantastic after his recovery from the injury. He wears the No.10 jersey as well for them and he can be their next superstar.”
Speaking about Eden Hazard’s failure to showcase his authority at Real Madrid, the former player says time is running out for him. “When he (Hazard) arrived at Real, everyone was excited. Everyone expected a lot from him. He was the best in the world at that moment. Then the physical condition was not the best and he had a lot of injuries. In real Madrid, if you don’t achieve what you are expected of, it can be tough. Everyone in Real Madrid is waiting for the best from Hazard.”
When asked whether the Real Madrid or La Liga clubs are interested in Kylian Mbappe, who will become a free agent in January, Fernando revealed, “If he arrives in La Liga it will be good for the league. He is a top player and Real are hoping to buy him. Hopefully they will push for him and buy him.”
Speaking about the financial struggle at the Barcelona club and their manager Ronald Koeman’s job at stake, he felt, “I don’t think they can sack him. He did his best with the team he got. He brought good players from their academy. Yes, they are struggling financially. But star players like Fati will help them overcome them in future.”
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