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Liga chief not worried by Ronaldo departure

MADRID (Reuters) - The president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, says he is not worried about the future value of the league’s product after Cristiano Ronaldo - one of its most famous players - left Real Madrid to join Serie A champions Juventus.

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“In the last few years we have been working to ensure a move like this does not have such a big impact,” Tebas told Spanish newspaper Marca on Tuesday.

“Before I would have been worried nine out of 10, now I’m worried four out of 10. It’s not the same and we’ve done a lot of work to ensure we do not depend on the transfer market. At La Liga we are above the name of the players, just like Real Madrid is bigger than the brand of Cristiano Ronaldo.”

La Liga is the second most valuable football league in Europe behind the Premier League and ahead of the Bundesliga.

Last month it announced a new domestic broadcasting rights deal worth 3.4 billion euros until 2022, a 15 percent increase on the previous deal.

It still lags behind the value of broadcasting rights in England’s top flight, currently worth 4.46 billion pounds until 2022.

Tebas, however, believes the growth of the league’s value in recent years means it can stomach the loss of a player even of the stature of Ronaldo, the league’s second-highest all-time goalscorer behind Lionel Messi.

“That would be a simplistic vision of the international market,” he said.

“The Premier League is the league that sells its broadcast rights for the biggest value and it doesn’t have the best players nor the best clubs. The market for broadcasting rights does not work like this.

“No country has told me they would lower their offer for a league without Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi. That’s not how it works. They buy the competition. Cristiano is leaving and other players are coming, but everyone has renewed without needing an offer for another player to be on the table.”

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Hugh Lawson