Javier del Rio who is the La Liga’s Country Manager in Nigeria has admitted that the Spanish league will miss Cristiano Ronaldo but reiterated that the division still has the best players in the world.
The biggest move of the summer was Ronaldo’s move from Real Madrid to Juventus, leaving the Spanish giants after nine years.
With that move, La Liga is shunned of one of their biggest stars but Javier del Rio who is the manager of the league in Nigeria, admitted that they will miss the reigning World Footballer of the Year.
“I’m not going to lie to you, Ronaldo is a big player, he has a lot of fans and a huge social media follower,” he told Pulse Sports.
“But he is gone and we have big, big players too, we have (Antoine) Griezmann in Atletico (Madrid), he might win the Ballon d’Or this year for the first time.
“We have (Lionel) Messi, I don’t have to talk about him, the best player in the history of football. We have (Luka) Modric, the best player at the World Cup.”
“Ronaldo is a big player and he was important to us but we have other big players to quickly forget about him,” he added.
New teams, new changes
Ahead of the new La Liga season, Javier del Rio spoke to journalists at a press briefing in Ikeja, highlighting the expectations and changes for the new football year.
He briefed the media on the three promoted teams to the La Liga- SD Huesca, Rayo Vallecano and R, Valladolid CF, the new players –Arturo Vidal of Barcelona, Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Lemer and Nigeria international Moses Simon who just moved to Levante.
In the new season, the league will be broadcast with the highest possible standard with Skycams, the Intel True View System and the 4K production.
In addition, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) which was used at the 2018 FIFA World Cup will debut in La Liga in the 2018/2019 season.
Since they launched their Nigerian office in 2016 and signed a partnership deal with Legacy Sports who became their official and exclusive agency in the country, La Liga has intensified efforts to make the league more popular in Nigerians and connect more with fans in the country.
They have partnered with the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) for an Under-15 competition among other initiatives like taking an All-Star team from the Nigerian league to play some friendly games in Spain.
Javier del Rio believes La Liga’s efforts in Nigeria will yield results in the long term, even in the national team.
“We will see the results in the long term, so it’s not like now a player like (Alex) Iwobi will become better because of La Liga,” he told further told Pulse Sports.
“What we are trying to do is improve the local league and grassroots football in Nigeria so that in a few years we will see the results.
“And someone to give the opportunity to the young kids and talent.”
The 2018/2017 season kicks off on Friday, August 17 as Girona host Valladolid in the first game.
Barcelona will host Alaves on Saturday, August 18, Real Madrid welcome Getafe whole Atletico Madrid travel to face Valencia for a tough opener.