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Is La Liga killing European football? No way, Jose

Spanish football's hold on the European club scene seems to be getting stronger and more pronounced with every season.

Real Madrid

Source: Getty Images

Ten days after Sevilla snatched their third straight UEFA Europa League with an impressive 3-1 win over Liverpool, Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid completed a remarkable season by snaring their 11th European Cup/Champions League title.

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In a repeat of the 2014 final, Los Blancos overcame crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid on penalties in Milan to make it a second Spanish double in three seasons.

It was not a convincing victory by any means although Los Merengues started and finished the game on top.

Atletico were generally the better and more positive team and they will rue Real's goal from defender Sergio Ramos that was clearly offside and striker Antoine Griezmann's penalty miss early in the second half.

Many would feel sympathy for Diego Simeone's fighting side after a cruel defeat that leaves Milan as the only city to provide two European champion teams.

But the moment belongs to Spain.



La Liga's domination of the continental club scene has become absolute and unequivocal.

Perhaps it is as significant as it was more than half a century ago when Real Madrid won the first five European Cups from 1956.

Or when the Netherlands produced four winners from 1970 via Feyenoord and Ajax before West Germany's Bayern Munich took the next three titles.

Or when England's First Division was so strong in the late 1970s and early 1980s that even modest clubs like Nottingham Forest were good enough to conquer Europe.

Or when Italy's Serie A ruled the roost in the 1990s thanks largely to the great AC Milan team, which incidentally is the last club to win back-to-back European titles.

The recent achievements of Barcelona and Real Madrid have led many to pop the hardly unexpected question: is Spain's domination killing football?

I can understand neutral fans' concern that the wealthiest clubs are laying their hands on the finest players money can buy.

I can understand too that such a scenario deprives the competition of an element of unpredictability.

Yet there is no need to panic.

History teaches us that the game not only can survive periods of domination from teams or leagues but in some cases its overall standards are enhanced because other teams have to lift their game to keep up with the pacesetters.

Real Madrid in the 1950s forced the neighbouring Portuguese and Italians to up their ante in much the same way as the Dutch in the 1970s, the English in the 1980s and the Italians in the 1990s took the game to a new level and obliged their rivals to follow suit.

There is no doubt that Spain's football culture has already started to leave its mark worldwide.

More and more coaches at club and national level are emulating the Spanish methods, even here in Australia.

Positive possession has become the hallmark of Ange Postecoglou's Socceroos while former Barcelona star Guillermo Amor's Adelaide United won a deserved A-League championship thanks largely to the contribution of the club's Hispanic contingent.

:: The left a bitter taste on the UCL final.

The Portuguese is a notorious henchman. He is not the only one who would use foul means to stop an opponent but his designed to get players booked or sent off have no place in the game and should have been punished.

Pepe does not deserve to be a Real Madrid player and the famous club that pride themselves on doing things in style should get rid of him.  


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4 min read
Published 30 May 2016 at 10:39am
By Philip Micallef
Source: SBS