La Liga president Javier Tebas has all but ruled out the possibility that the league Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona will ever be staged in North America.

Since La Liga signed in 2018 a 15-year agreement with Relevent Sports to promote the sport in North America and expand the competition’s brand, it has tried without success to stage a league game in the United States.

Tebas said there is more hope of staging La Liga matches in the United States, but not when it comes to the Clasico.

“To stage the Clasico in the United States would be more complicated,” Tebas said on Friday.

“It’s the game between the most important clubs in the world. I have to be honest, it’s complex.

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“But it does increase the opportunity to stage other official games there. We have tried and we will continue to do so. We hope that in the not-too-distant future, we could see Barcelona play one game there one season, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid or other clubs another season.

ESPN acquired the broadcasting rights to Spain’s La Liga through the 2028-29 season and will begin coverage in August.

“After this agreement with ESPN, our fans in the United States deserve to have a a top-level game staged there.”

A friendly between Barcelona and Real Madrid was played on U.S. soil on July 29 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami as part of the 2017 International Champions Cup and proved to be a big success.

Relevent Sports owner and chairman Stephen Ross, whose group organises the International Championship Cup, said: “We’ve been involved in the last 10 years to bring international soccer in the U.S. We have sold out just about every international game.

“The two most popular teams are Real Madrid and Barcelona, that is what we have learned. We want to show America just how good European football is.”

Tebas, meanwhile, believes the new broadcasting agreement will see La Liga continue to approach the level of popularity of the Premier League.

“Our obsession is not to surpass the Premier League but to grow,” he said. “I think in recent years we have come close to the Premier League in the U.S. and in other places in the world. I think we will get closer but the Premier League is not an obsession, our obsession is La Liga.”

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique meanwhile, believes La Liga offers better quality players than any other competition, including the Premier League.

“In Spain, our main characteristic is that players have a lot of talent,” Pique said. “Obviously, there is talent everywhere. But if you compare it to the Premier League, the football there is much more physical, strong players, going box to box.

“It’s different in Spain, the quality of the players or the talent is a little bit better, has increased during the last years with respect to the other leagues. This is something that makes us different and special.”

Pique wants to experience again playing on U.S. soil.

“All the times that we’ve had the opportunity to travel there to play some games we’ve had a great experience in different cities,” he said.

“I hope we can go there and play in the future. I know we have a lot of fans in America and I hope we can play there for them. I think that every year the quality of the games and of the players in La Liga is increasing. We have the best competition in the world.”

Tebas believes the agreement with ESPN highlights the importance of domestic competition at a time when it has been threatened by the creation of a breakaway European League.

“This proves the strength of national competitions,” Tebas said.

“Not just in the case of La Liga but also with respect to the Premier League and the Bundesliga. There’s no need to create new competitions telling the world of football is not generating money.

“It’s not true. This agreement proves it and reinforces our stance as a league against what some of the clubs of the Super League have said.”