Singapore - English footballer Jermaine Pennant fired a
parting shot as he left his Singapore club, saying even Barcelona superstar
Lionel Messi couldn't lift the moribund S-League.
The former Arsenal and Liverpool winger, 33, made the
comment as he departs Tampines Rovers after just nine months in the nine-team
"No matter who you get, you could bring Messi here,
yes, you'd attract fans but without money, and the government and the league
helping out like they do with other sports, or what they do in other countries,
it's not going to grow," he told the Straits Times newspaper.
"If they don't do anything, football is always going to
be in a comfort zone, not progressing."
Also read: Ex-prodigy Pennant signs ‘sexy’ deal with Singapore club
Pennant was arguably the biggest signing in S-League
history, but he was cut loose after Tampines Rovers finished second, one point
behind Albirex Niigata.
The S-League struggles to attract spectators and sponsorship
in an era when many Singaporean fans prefer to watch European football on
The Straits Times said Pennant was believed to be earning
Sg$20,000 ($14,000) a month under his contract.
Club chairman Krishna Ramachandra told AFP on Thursday that
"While the club could afford his wages, it would also send the wrong
message to all the other players, who may have to take a pay cut, that one
player is getting a super-scale salary."
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