Fernando Sanz, La Liga’s General Director in MENA, insists the league has faced no commercial fallout from Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus last summer.
Ronaldo’s €100m transfer from Real Madrid to Juve hit global headlines, with the move widely accepted to have provided a major boost to the popularity Serie A this season. Juve are currently top of the table and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is the league’s top scorer in 2018-19, netting 14 goals in 19 games.
In contrast, Los Blancos have struggled for both goals and form without Ronaldo and are currently fifth in La Liga. Julen Lopetegui was sacked after just 140 days as coach, with Santiago Solari currently in charge.
‘La Liga will always be La Liga’
Despite the malaise on and off the pitch since Ronaldo left, ex-Madrid defender Sanz is adamant the Portuguese superstar’s absence has not adversely affected Spanish football.
“People ask me a lot about Cristiano Ronaldo but at the end of the day, we believe La Liga has the best football players and we are the best competition in the world,” Sanz told Sport Industry Insider in an exclusive interview.
“It’s sad loss for La Liga when players like Cristiano Ronaldo move to another competition, the same as Neymar last season. But our competition, our clubs, are in the hearts of a lot of football fans.
“Our figures since Ronaldo moved to Serie A are not worse, they are better – we have more fans, more income.
“La Liga will always be La Liga, Formula 1 will always be Formula 1, NBA the same. One big football player moving to another competition does not stop the progress.”
That progress has seen La Liga grow its income substantially in recent years, with the league last year posting income of €3.6 billion – up from around €700 million five years earlier. And while the figures from the post-Ronaldo era are not yet publicly available, Sanz is delighted with La Liga’s increasing global reach.
“Now, you can see every match of La Liga in every part of the world,” he said. “We even changed the kick-off times of the matches so that people can better follow the league around the world.
“It helps of course that Real Madrid and Barcelona are the two most successful clubs and that they have the best football players in the world.”