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Is La Liga Stronger Than The Premier League?

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La Liga and the Premier League are, in most quarters, rightly recognised as the two strongest leagues in the world. Perhaps this is tough on Serie A; but it is no secret that most of the world stars occupy the two leagues in question.

It would be fair to say that, at this moment, the two best players in the world are Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Lionel Messi of Barcelona. The former sitting at the top of the goal scoring charts in La Liga with 14 goals in 12 games, the latter with 13. Spain may have the best national squad in the world and the best players but that does not make the best league.

It is no secret that coveted World Cup sensation Mesut Özil had a long list of admirers this summer before he eventually chose to sign for Real Madrid; whether this was due to the pull of the climate, or the money, or whether rising stars believe La Liga is stronger than the Premier League is debatable.

David Beckham once famously said, when you leave Manchester United, the only way is down, the only team who are on par are Real Madrid. That said, this is very much a British opinion; perhaps the pinnacle is to play for Manchester United. It is the same reason Cristiano Ronaldo left for Madrid, for any young Brazilian, Spanish, Portuguese player, the pinnacle is to play for Real.

Following Barcelona’s 8-0 drubbing of Almeria and Madrid’s 5-1 thrashing of Athletic Bilbao, it has been questioned whether the top two, who already lead the chasing pack by 7 Points, are ‘that good’ or whether the teams below are not up to much. Almeria do sit second bottom, that said, Chelsea or Manchester United would not go to Wolves and win 8-0, I would put my house on it.

Valencia are somewhat the third ‘power’ of La Liga, yet they finished last season 25 points adrift of second place; to add to their woes they lost their two best players in the summer, ironically one to the Premier League. They have made a decent start domestically this year but that does not hide the fact they have failed to make any real impact in the Champions League, either this season or previously. Although they have qualified for the latter stages after a thumping win on matchday 5, they will not be vastly feared and were defeated by a depleted and off colour Manchester United on their own patch earlier this season.

 The strength of each league is perhaps best tested by the Champions League. In the campaign of 2008-2009, four of the eight quarter finalists and three out of the four semi-finalists were English. This season, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United have all qualified for the latter stages with Arsenal likely to follow suit. Aside from Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia, there is no other Spanish representative.

 Below that are a crop of teams such as Villarreal, Athletico Madrid and Sevilla, who have failed to make any impact in the Europa League (where Villarreal, along with Getafe, are struggling in very mediocre groups this season), let alone the Champions League. The English equivalent of perhaps Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool; I will let you make your own conclusion on which crop is stronger. Tottenham and Manchester City both genuinely believe they have a chance of winning the title this term and don’t forget it wasn’t long ago that Liverpool won the Champions League and narrowly missed out on the Premier League title, that is a tribute to the strength of the league itself. The truth is, beyond the top five or six teams, the standard in La Liga is not and never will be up to the standard of the Premier League. Sevilla President Jose Maria del Nido admitted:

 “Sevilla are championing the fight for a better deal. Look at the Premier League results. Manchester United win 2-0, Chelsea lose 1-0 and Tottenham beat Arsenal at home. That is a league! Not Almeria losing 8-0 or Athletic Bilbao losing 5-1 at the Bernabeu. That is not a real competition”.

The inability of English Clubs to spend their way out of sight, bar of course Manchester City, has kept the league interesting. If a player coveted by the Premier League wished to move, he could realistically compete for trophies at Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool. The same cannot be said of La Liga.

Despite his heroics against Liverpool for Manchester United, Diego Forlan had a nightmare in England. Whether he wasn’t ready or whether the fact he scores goals for fun in Spain may speak volumes and remember Frédéric Kanouté, average at Tottenham, great at Sevilla. Giuseppe Rossi, unspectacular in England, quite the opposite in Spain. The fact I haven’t needed to mention the stars that occupy the Premier League is an important point in itself. Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres, and Carlos Tevez would all feature in most people’s list of the world’s top 10 strikers.

This season and certainly next, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City will all contest the Premier League trophy. In La Liga, it will be one from two; outside Barcelona and Real Madrid, La Liga does not provide a platform to win trophies or create excitement amongst the public. Nearly two-thirds of all football fans in Spain support one of the big two and the rest distantly follow one of them, it reminds me of a league closer to home, dare I say Scotland.

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Comments (29)

  1. You’ve got pretty much everything in this article down to a T.

    Whilst it us undeniable that Barcelona and R. Madrid are incredibly strong – perhaps stronger than Man Utd and Chelsea – it seems to be at great cost to the rest of La Liga.

    Other than watching El Classico, i now ignore La Liga. La Liga is no longer a competition – Other than the top two, no one else in the league can compete to win.

    Of course we can compare La Liga to the EPL – and now doubt argue about Manchester United winning the League all the time etc etc, but this is about here an now.

    Now; La Liga is the most boring football competition in Europe. What is the point of watching something that has a pre-determined outcome?

  2. I don’t know why you have the heading as a “question?” when this article has clearly just been made to hype up the Bpl(please don’t call it “Epl”)and talk down La Liga. Articles like this(which there are many)reek of nothing but jealousy.

  3. Best league in the world: Bundesliga

  4. have you forgotten the scorelines Chelsea was producing last season and even earlier this season? the fact of the matter is, english are arrogant and they think they’re the best. and there’s no point in arguing with someone who’s arrogant and thinks that they’re the best, in other words: English.

    Chelsea and City have both spent millions in buying success and the english are just jealous cos their owners are just money-hungry whores. whereas in spain, madrid and barcelona have an actually working system when it comes to ownership and management of a club. we have actual youth academies and sane coaches. and yea, thank you for injecting the special one. i reckon, he should’ve shifted with the special children rather than installed at inter or madrid.

    cheers. it was nice to vent all that out.

  5. The comparison with SPL is relevant when you look at league inequality, but otherwise the sheer quality of players playing in La Liga means that at the very least, they have the top two footballers in the world right now along with a host of other quality footballers.

    @Umair – let’s not get started with the politicking at Barcelona / Madrid. Being devious (and to be fair, slightly out of reach of the English media) doesn’t make them any less whorish…

  6. @ Koewart
    Here here!

  7. This article is based on plain arguments derivated from the good old English envy of the Spanish big horses.

    It is true that competition for the title in Spain is closed, but I don’t see any major difference in England either. Nevertheless, Premiership knows 4 different champions right? In the same time, 5 different teams in Spain won the title (Barcelona, Madrid, Atletico, Valencia and Deportivo).

    I don’t see any particular difference between non-title pretendents in both Spain and England. Atletico won Europa League last season, eliminated Liverpool in the process, while Valencia for instance had more European success in last 10 years than Arsenal.

    I agree that minor Spanish clubs operate on lower scale than English, but that’s more or less the only difference worth mentioning.

    Perhaps some may disagree, but Real Madrid and Barcelona would conquer any European league in the same manner as they do in Spain. This is not Chelsea or Manchester United, we’re talking about two of the biggest football clubs in the world who posess more or less all the best players in the world.

    • Thats because Real and Barca get more TV money than everyone else in the league combined!!!!!

  8. This article is absolutely spot on

  9. Have to agree. Wigan with 9 man gave Man U more of a game then Almeria and Athletic combined, and that is because of the unfair tv rights split – Madrid and Barca get more then the rest of the league combined.

  10. And comeon some of you – please come up with a better argument then the ‘arrogant english’ we’re the most cynical country on the planet.

  11. This article is absolutely BS. The english are not only sounding arrogant, but also jealous now as well. There is only 2 teams that are actually title challengers for the title, and many just a couple weeks ago were saying that Chelsea had already won…lol. I know it’s late, but can I add hypocritical as well?

    In REALITY, there are generally only 2-3 teams with an honest shot at winning the title in any of the 3 big leagues…sorry Germans, but you’re not included anymore. Those 2-3 teams also are likely to have a decent shot at winning the CL, but being a tournament it’s not so cut and dry, which is what makes it so much better.

    Come on english…back to reality please.

    BTW, who the h3ll cares if Wolves are better, or put up more of a fight than Almeria???? Totally irrelevant argument to make.

    • Which do you think will be a bigger shock this or next season?

      Tottenham winning the Premier League,
      or Sevilla winning the La Liga?

      There are 5 English teams with a decent shot at winning the league, or at least putting up a fight. Spurs, City, Arsenal, Chelsea, United.

      Imagine Arsenal finishing 3rd, 25 points off seccond place. That won’t happen. If Arsenal finish 25 points off second, they would be ninth.

      • United, last season, had 85 points in second place. Everton, in 8th, had 61.

    • ‘The english are not only sounding arrogant…’

      ’3 big leagues…sorry Germans, but you’re not included anymore.’

      Hmmm…

  12. Load of crap. Arsenal beat a team 6-0. Chelsea spanked a team 7-0, 6-0, 5-0 in consective games.

    But when it comes down to who will win the premiership its a one-horse race. CHELSEA! where is the competition apart from man united? EPL is really a 1horse race with a little threat coming from man united.

    LALIGA is 2 horse race.

    • And yet United are level with Chelsea, and Arsenal only two points off the top.

      And Newcastle also spanked a team 6-0.
      And Sunderland spanked a team 3-0.

  13. La Liga is a rich SPL with better weather.

    BPL is a league in which the top 5 teams (Spurs, City, Arsenal, Chelsea, United) are very similar in ability, with the next 3 (Everton, Liverpool, Aston Villa) all very capable as well. Not to mention the fact that plenty of mid-table clubs can take plenty of points off the top: Fulham, Bolton, Sunderland, Birmingham, Blackburn, even Stoke, Wolves, and Wigan! (Not to mention Newcastle, West Brom, etc).

    Imagine Atletic Bilbao, Osasuna, Getafe, Mallorca or Deportivo having half a chance of dreaming of beating Real or Barca! Sunderland has thrashed Chelsea this season. Newcastle has beaten Arsenal. West Brom has drawn with United.

    La liga is nothing but a rich SPL with better weather.

  14. Once again a thread has been derailed by the EPL vs La Liga argument.

    The fact is that La Liga is ONLY a two horse race. No team other than the top two have a chance to win in Spain, which is what this article is about.

    Comparing the two leagues is stupid anyway: i think Coke is better than Pepsi, do you agree?

    Most EPL supporters would agree that Spain has the better players: Messi, Ronaldo, Iniesta, Alonso etc etc. But the EPL actually has a competition involving more than two teams.

    La Liga blows because its:

    Barcelona FC 7
    SOMEOTHERSPANISHTEAM 0

    … every single game.

    This is not – by definition – competitive football.

    Real and Barca are only so good because they take 7 times as much cash from television rights than most other teams in the league.

    Split the money out equally – let us watch good, competitive Spanish football again.

    La Liga should be good with everything equal. Look at the EPL, Television revenues are split between all the teams… and look how exciting their league is this year!

    • They are better for the following reasons
      Real Madrid=Di Stefano, Puskas, Zidane
      Barcelona=Maradona, Cruyff, Ronaldo

      and british teams???, apart for thei agressive way of paly football (too much muscles and fewer brain) I am south American and honestly nobody take seriously the EPL here (maybe because 4 out of 5 best footballer all time were born here, and we acquired a posh fotball taste)

  15. All things considered the Bundesliga is better than both La Liga and the Premier League.

  16. The Bpl is a richer SPL…with the same weather.

  17. The English premier is better than any league in the world.Period!!!Others are just pretenders!

  18. u say c.ronaldo,v.nistelrooy,m.owen,ozil,zidane,kaka,khedira, figo were from r.madrid academies..pliz allow me 2 laugh..ha ha he hi ho hu huuuu!!!!!

  19. la liga have only 2 teams with all my respect for the others, but every one can see what are the other teams, off la liga done in uefa champions league.england have manutd ,chelsea,liverpool and arsenal.thats make me think,premier league its beter
    england for life

  20. I’m Spanish. I live in Bilbao. I am sick and tired of the same results and same champions of our league.. This is why in July next year i am moving to London studying and buying my Season ticket at White Hart Lane… i wan’t to cheer on a team who have a chance of winning but are always on the edge! this is what i love about Premier League 4 teams have a chance of winning the title and about 7 teams have the chance of getting in the top 4! No league in the world can compete with the Competition of the Premier league… look and the playig who go to England.. the become better stronger players then they were before

  21. Bpl can’t attract the worlds greatest talent and doesn’t have any football GIANTS like Real and Barca. That’s what makes Bpl fans so sad, jealous and angry.

  22. the arguement that la liga attracts the best players is somewhat exaggerated, its madrid and barca that do, outside of those 2 theres only maybe only 3 or 4 real players of note in la liga e.g forlan, aguero, mata.

    this contrasts to epl where outside of the top 2 (chelsea, united) there are players like tevez, ballotelli, adebayor, silva, fabregas, nasri, arshavin, van persie, gerrard, torres, van der vart, bale, modric.

    and the arguement that ahmed umair made about city and chelsea buying success is stupid because madrid have spent more money over the last 10 years than any team in world football, and have only produced to 2 players of note from their academy, raul and casillas.

    also madrid have no real management structure which is why you see them sacking del bosque after his success and cappello after winning the league

    im not anti spanish but i think on balance the epl is more competitive and a better competition to watch for neutrals

  23. I agree that either Barca or Real will for the foreseeable future will win La Liga. But if you’re talking in monetary terms: The EPL is was made the way it is today by money – not anywhere near the terms of development which some Spanish teams hold dear (and as a philosophy – in some cases patriotism [whatever you make of that is up to you]). La Liga is still entertaining to watch game-for-game. And actually, in personal opinion, just as good – if not better – than the EPL, game-for-game. Because of a different inherent style of play. But that’s personalised. Here’s the core: Modern football is what it is – it is run by money mongerers. Most of whom do not care for football. The difference between La Liga and the EPL is that in Spain there are two clubs involved of that belligerence…in England there are two almost divisions worth.