Bringing Spanish top flight clubs to India for pre-season friendlies is a priority for LaLiga and it is looking to repeat what they managed to do with Girona FC ahead of the 2018/19 season, the league’s managing director for India Jose Antonio Cachaza said on Wednesday.
“We brought Girona to play two matches in Kerala last year. This year we tried hard and got close but it didn’t happen. We are working towards bringing other clubs to India (for pre-season games). I’m pretty sure even Real Madrid and Barcelona are willing to come to India in the future,” Cachaza told IANS on the sidelines the 2019/20 season kick-off event in New Delhi.
However, when asked how close they are towards bringing either of the two Spanish giants to the country, Cachaza said he couldn’t say for sure.
Girona FC, which got relegated from the Primera division last season, played pre-season matches in India ahead of the 2018/19 season, when it faced Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters and Australian club Melbourne City FC.
With Sony Pictures Network ending its LaLiga broadcast partnership with Facebook for India in August, the league will be available for streaming solely on the social media platform this season.
“What we are trying to do is be ahead of the others in this new changing world. When we decided to partner with Facebook, we were fully convinced of the step we were taking. So we are not missing any other broadcaster and we are totally convinced that we are doing it the right way,” he said.
Cachaza said that while LaLiga takes pride in having some of the best players in the world playing for them, it is not overly dependent on them, citing the example of the viewership in India not taking too much of a hit last season despite it being the first time since 2009 that five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo was not featuring in it.
Last season, for the first time in five years, a Spanish club did not feature in the final of the Champions League but Cachaza said that this does not concern individuals like him who are looking to increase the popularity of the league outside Spain.
“We have to congratulate the four English clubs that played the European finals (Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League and Chelsea and Arsenal in the Europa League). But we have to appreciate that this is football and it is the reality of what happened last year. We are not concerned about that.
“The good thing about our competition with the Premier League and the Bundesliga is that we can all win. It is not like a football match where there is a winner and a loser. We hope that we all win and we have a great relationship with all the pro leagues in Europe and even the ISL here in India. Business-wise, we are all the same and we have the same interests,” he said.
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