Spain’s La Liga boss Javier Tebas fears embattled Barcelona star Lionel Messi could be tempted by an escape route offered by Chelsea.
The Argentinian icon was sentenced to 21 months jail but is not expected to do any time because prison terms of less than two years in Spain can be served under probation.
The Sun says Chelsea are ready to test the waters with a world record bid after owner Roman Abramovich held secret talks with Messi’s father in the past fortnight.
Speaking at a press conference in Catalonia, Tebas said: “Of course I fear that [Messi] could leave.
“The only thing I can tell him is that from La Liga we believe he isn’t guilty and we are happy to have him here.
He added: “I don’t think he is a criminal – I don’t believe he knew anything.
“I think the Supreme Court will overturn the sentence. He was sucked in by a risky fiscal program that has brought these consequences.
“But you cannot forget that he has contributed over £135million to the Spanish state. That money has built motorways and hospitals.
“There is no prejudice or personal attack against Messi or against Barcelona. The world of sport is under investigation.”