Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has become embroiled in a public war of words with La Liga president Javier Tebas.
There is a long-standing animosity between the Spanish league boss and City, whom he has regularly accused of distorting the transfer market and of being run in an immoral way.
Tebas has regularly claimed that City and Paris Saint-Germain – clubs who are owned by individuals with power in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar respectively – are damaging for football generally and for clubs in Spain’s top-flight.
He has also questioned the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision to overturn City’s two-year ban from UEFA competitions last year.
Tebas – a Madrid-based lawyer – is often accused by his critics of courting controversy and he is involved in several long-running and high-profile disputes with his counterparts at the Spanish FA.
This exchange of comments with Guardiola is focused on the City boss underlining the strength of the English Premier League and questioning why Spain’s La Liga is lagging behind.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss specifically addressed Tebas in his criticism of this gap and highlighted that City’s funding was legitimate, and football should continue to welcome investment as any other business does.
Guardiola said: “There is better management in the Premier [League], which is seen in Asia, from which Mr. Tebas could learn.
“Perhaps he could sell the product better in other countries. People complain but thanks to these investments, people from other clubs in other countries can continue to do things.
“Perhaps it is the only business in which people who want to invest are frowned upon. I don’t understand it because this affects other clubs around the world.
“There is United, City, Chelsea or Liverpool, economically strong clubs with owners who want to invest – many of them – like ours, who do not want any profit but to reinvest so that the club can continue to grow for the fans. What problem is there?
“Then there are always UEFA controls, like financial fair play. If the product is better sold and more is paid for television rights, Mr. Tebas, who knows more about everything than anyone else and is wiser than anyone and puts himself in the house of others, then let him learn.
“Perhaps like this, Barca, Madrid, Atletico or Valencia will have more resources to make the investments they should make, and if we make a mistake, they will penalise us and we will not be able to play. But as it is not the case, each one does what they want.”
That prompted La Liga boss Tebas to take to Twitter in response, in which he criticised Guardiola’s understanding of football economics and the ramifications that outside investment has.
The league chief said: “Pep, I learn from the Premier League every day. It would be good if they teach you a little about football macroeconomics, about the impacts of state clubs on wage inflation, demographics, the impact of pay TV, China…and of the acquittal in CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sports) we will have news.”
Guardiola has now responded to that with a series of tweets, once again outlining how Spanish football has gone from a position of dominance in European football to its top-flight lagging behind the Premier League.
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His Twitter account wrote: “Javier. Spanish league last two decades: Many Champions League titles for Barça and Madrid. So many. Champions League finalists of Valencia and Atlético (Madrid). Many Europa League titles with Sevilla as the great dominator and the last of Villarreal. Euro (2008) with Luis Aragonés.
“World Cup and European Championship with Vicente del Bosque. (Lionel) Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo with us doing things never seen before and that we will never see again.
“Admiration and esteem from all over the world … but the problem is with the state clubs. You should know a lot about this from state clubs, right?
“I don’t understand macroeconomics, or demographics, or the impact of pay TV, or China.
“That is why it is up to you, to tell us why we are still so far from the Premier League after two brutal decades of Spanish football.
“So that you can tell us and solve it.”