It is often debated which is the best domestic league in the world, and that’s a pretty difficult question depending on what you define as ‘best’. Best players? Most competitive? Most entertaining?
A lot of the argument is subjective – the best league has to have the most goals per game, the loudest crowds, the most upsets. It usually comes down to personal preference.
Although sometimes the debate insinuates that you must only like one league. And only consume that. Which is as stupid as liking one musician or one movie. You can enjoy them all.
However when it comes to out and out quality, Spain’s supremacy is undeniable.
Teams from La Liga have taken on 14 non-La Liga teams in the Champions League and Europa League this season and have progressed every single time. The only time Spanish teams have been eliminated is by other Spanish teams.
This season is no anomaly, Spanish teams have knocked out 45 of their last 48 non-Spanish opponents. Against Premier League opposition they’ve progressed 17 out 18 times. (Chelsea knocking out Barcelona in 2012 the odd one out in case you’re wondering)
Real Madrid’s win this morning means we will have an all-Spanish final in Milan, the second one in three seasons. It also means that we are guaranteed a third successive Spanish Champions League winner after Madrid and Barca won it in the past two seasons.
But it’s just thetop 3 who are good, the rest are rubbish, right?
No, there is a good chance with tomorrow’s Europa League matches we could see an all-Spanish Europa League final as well. Villarreal head to Anfield with a 1-0 lead, while Sevilla host Shakhtar Donetsk having drawn 2-2 in the first leg, knowing the two away goals will give them a huge advantage.
If either Sevilla or Villarreal were to go on and win the trophy it would be the eighth time in 13 years that a Spanish team has won the Europa League. This to go with what will inevitably the sixth Spanish Champions League winner in the past ten seasons.
The most valid criticism of La Liga is the uneven distribution of television money sees the rich clubs get richer while the poorer teams become poorer and less able to compete. Forbes reported that for last season, Barca received $231 million while Eibar only received $20 million.
Although smaller clubs like Malaga, Sporting Gijon, Celta Vigo and Valencia have all upset the big three at different times this season.
As respected Spanish football journalist, Sid Lowe, once wrote (prior to Atleti’s rise under Simeone) “the Spanish league is a two-horse race, it is true. But not because the rest are a bunch of donkeys.”
Madrid, Barca and now Atleti would in all likelihood dominate any league in the world that they played in. This is evident in their Champions League success.
Again, this is not to say you can’t enjoy the other leagues.
The story of Leicester in the Premier League is one of the greatest sporting stories of all time.
The Bundesliga is as packed with goals as their stands are packed with fans making for an incredible atmosphere.
Serie A is still one of the most tactically strong leagues in the world and provides an incredible challenge for some of the great players and coaches.
Closer to home the A-League produced one of the most competitive leagues in the world with four teams able to win the league on the final weekend of the season.
But when it comes to quality it’s impossible to deny Spain is number one.