Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will be banned from the World Cup under plans for a new European Super League

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will be banned from the World Cup under plans for a new European Super League
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo.Getty/Nicolo Campo
  • Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would be banned from playing international football under plans for a European Super League.
  • Barcelona and Juventus both announced plans to join the breakaway league on Sunday.
  • "They could not represent national team in any matches," said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would be banned from playing international football under plans for a new European Super League, authorities said Monday.

On Sunday, 12 of Europe's biggest soccer clubs announced plans to join the breakaway league, which aims to rival the UEFA Champions League as the continent's biggest club competition.
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Messi's Barcelona and Ronaldo's Juventus will be joined by Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, and Inter Milan in the league, which is being financed by Wall Street bank JP Morgan.
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German clubs Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have declined invitations to join the league, as has French side Paris Saint Germain and Portugal's FC Porto.

UEFA, European soccer's governing body, immediately condemned the plans, saying in a statement on Sunday that it will not only remove those teams involved from their domestic leagues, but that it would also ban players from competing for their national teams.

Speaking on Monday, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin doubled down on the message, saying: "The players who will play in teams that might play in the closed league will be banned from playing in World Cup and Euros.
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"They could not represent national team in any matches."

Should the Super League go ahead, that would mean Messi and Ronaldo would no longer be eligible for Argentina or Portugal. Messi is Argentina's all-time record goal scorer, having scored 71 goals in 142 games, while Ronaldo is Portugal's all-time record scorer and appearance maker, having scored 103 goals in 173 games.
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While Messi and Ronaldo are by far the highest profile players involved in teams which have signed up for the Super League, hundreds of other international stars - like Portugal's Bruno Fernandes, Belgium's Eden Hazard, Uruguay's Luis Suarez, and Egypt' Mohamed Salah - would be excluded from international football under the plans.

It is unclear if the bans would be enforceable

FIFPro, which represents 60,000 football players globally, warned in a statement of possible "irreparable damage" to football under the new plans, carrying on to say that it will "vigorously oppose measures by either side that would impede the rights of players, such as exclusion from their national teams."

While UEFA has threatened to ban players from the Super League from joining international matches, it remains unclear if that would be enforceable, and it would likely be subject to legal challenges if implemented.
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"Players and their agents will also be keeping a keen eye on things," Simon Leaf, the head of sport at law firm Mischon de Reya said in an email Monday.

"Recent case law from the world of ice-skating offers them hope against potential exclusion from international competitions," he added, referring to a 2017 case in which the European Commission ruled in favor of a pair of Dutch speed skaters who wanted to take part in a new breakaway skating tournament.

Ice skating authorities had banned them from doing so, but that decision was overruled by the commission.
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"We expect that the big name athletes will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure they are able to compete at the highest level internationally," Leaf added.

Some players are speaking out against the European Super League

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will be banned from the World Cup under plans for a new European Super League
Lionel Messi hasn't commented on the plans yet.Getty/Quality Sport Images

While neither Messi or Ronaldo have yet commented on the proposed European Super League, a number of other players have.

PSG midfielder Ander Herrera said on Twitter: "I fell in love with popular football, with the football of the fans, with the dream of seeing the team of my heart compete against the greatest.
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"If this European super league advances, those dreams are over, the illusions of the fans of the teams that are not giants of being able to win on the field competing in the best competitions will end.

Wolverhampton Wanderers and Portugal forward Daniel Podence also spoke out against the plans on Instagram."Zidane's volley, Kaka's Solo, Liverpool In Athens, Ole in Barcelona, Cris and Seedorf. There some things we just can't really pay for," he said.
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Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes then shared his countryman's post, adding the caption: "Dreams can't be [bought]."

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