El Clásico is bigger than Ronaldo- Messi maintains LaLiga's Tebas
Javier Tebas believes Barcelona versus Real Madrid remains superior to the personal battle between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
El Clasico loses nothing with the absences of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, according to LaLiga president Javier Tebas, who thinks Real Madrid versus Barcelona is bigger than the duo.
Messi will miss the clash at Camp Nou on Sunday due to a fractured arm, while Madrid's all-time record goalscorer Ronaldo moved to Juventus in a €112million transfer in the off-season.
It will be the first time the arch rivals have faced off without the five-time Ballon d'Or winners since December 2007, when Los Blancos were 1-0 winners in Barcelona.
Suggestions the Clasico cannot live up to previous editions have been dismissed by Tebas, who has no doubt the spectacle is superior to any individuals involved.
The LaLiga president told Omnisport: "I think Cristiano and Messi are the ones losing something without being in this Clasico, they won't be there. The Clasico doesn't lose because I think it will be at a maximum level with two great teams and I think those teams are greater than the players. I think it will be the first time without Cristiano and Messi and it will be a good one as a strategic thing
"The Clasico is one of the star products in LaLiga. We are looking for more matches to be star products but it's true Barcelona versus Real Madrid is a great product which we have to work with and improve in order to reach all our supporters over the world."
Matches between Barca and Madrid are often tempestuous affairs laden with controversy, and the addition of VAR in LaLiga this season could add another layer to the debate.
Tebas has no concerns about the technology playing an influential role in the Clasico, though.
"I am not afraid of VAR [being used in El Clasico for the first time]," he said. "We have been working with VAR a lot. We have been working with the referees a lot, so I am not afraid. It's obvious that I am a bit concerned because everything is massive in a Clasico, so they will exaggerate everything, but I think VAR will work really well during this Clasico as it has done during all the matches."