Richard Masters has discussed Lionel Messi’s move to PSG and believes the Premier League’s competitiveness gives it a greater appeal in comparison to Europe’s major leagues.
Messi this week confirmed a stunning free transfer move to Paris Saint-Germain after leaving Barcelona, where the six-time Ballon d’Or winner will unite with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in a formidable attacking line-up.
PSG’s financial strength has seen the capital club win seven of the past nine Ligue 1 titles and the Parisians are strong favourites to secure another title this term, with Messi’s arrival raising questions about the competitiveness of the division in France.
In comparison, chief executive Masters believes the unpredictable nature of the Premier League is what makes English football’s top tier the most-watched league in world football.
“It does – if you look at what the Premier League has established its comparable success on,” he told the Telegraph. “Supporting the pyramid, supporting in season sporting merit [where you finish in one year the only factor dictating a potential European place], supporting competitiveness, supporting equitable distribution. You have to be on point every season.
“That is what separates the Premier League from other European leagues – how competitive it is from top to bottom. It’s always good to have the biggest names but it is not built on individuals.”
Masters discussed the prospect of Messi moving to the Premier League with Manchester City having been linked with his signing last summer, admitting the opportunity to see the Argentine in England would have been welcomed in the ‘autumn of his career’.
However, Masters says the Premier League’s mix of ‘the world’s best players’ and ‘good English talent’ will see the division continue to thrive and remain competitive.
“No one was anticipating that Messi would become a free agent overnight,” he said. “It would have been nice had he come to the Premier League in the autumn of his career. He has chosen to go to Paris. We will survive.
“We have always had our fair share of the world’s best players mixed with really good English talent coming through the system. We will be fine. I am expecting next season to be as competitive as ever.”
Masters believes a lack of competitiveness on the continent is a ‘problem’ for European counterparts, before outlining his belief that as many as five clubs could win the Premier League ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
“I do think it’s a problem for those leagues [which lack competitiveness] and it is part of the malcontent that has been exacerbated by the pandemic that leagues need to be competitive if they are to be successful long term,” he said.
“I think we have four clubs this season, maybe five, who can win the league and then you have a real chasing pack for the European spots. For some it is about winning it, for others it’s Champions League football, or making progress, or staying in it.
“There is a part in the soap opera for everybody. There is hope instilled in the pyramid and I can’t see what hope there is in some of the other leagues.”