England? Spain? Italy? Germany? What really is the best league in the world?

Christian Montegan Roar Pro

By Christian Montegan, Christian Montegan is a Roar Pro

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    There have been many arguments over the years about which domestic league is the best in the world.

    Out of Europe’s top four – England, Spain, Italy and Germany – which league really stands out from the rest?

    English Premier League
    The Premier league is by far the most exciting to watch on a weekly basis, helped by top clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester City who are owned by rich billionaires and have the necessary resources to compete with the elite.

    During the 2016-17 season, 1064 goals were scored in the league despite average defending from some very poor teams at the bottom half of the table, which is what the fans want to see.

    Year after year, the competitiveness in the league has been astounding. This season, despite Chelsea clinching the title by seven points, four teams were battling for a Champions League berth with the gap as close as three points towards the end of the season. Recently, there has always been a new winner each year which further cements the Premier League’s status as the most competitive league in the world.

    zlatan-ibrahimovic-manchester-united-premier-league-football-2016

    (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

    Every single stadium associated with a Premier League club is seen as high quality which is a big reason why attendances have improved year after year. However, the atmosphere within these stadiums is very unattractive and take away a lot from the spectacle.

    The star power within the league is incredible. With the likes of Eden Hazard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alex Sanchez, Mesut Özil, Sergio Agüero and Paul Pogba being attracted to England only indicates that with money behind clubs, it can go a long way towards success.

    Success in Europe however has been abysmal. The last English club to win the Champions League was back in 2012 when Chelsea took it out, although Manchester United were good enough to scrape past the line in the Europa League with little competition.

    A winter break would give clubs a much better chance to perform to their potential in Europe, but it shows that the league is behind others in terms of technique, skill, tactical ability and approach towards training regimes.

    Spanish La Liga
    When La Liga is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is its absolute dominance across Europe. Silverware should always be expected, and within the past ten years of the Champions League, Spanish clubs have won the most prestigious European cup competition six times. The Europa League is the same story, as in the past ten seasons six Spanish clubs have lifted the trophy. This included three titles in a row won by Sevilla starting from 2014.

    Continental success has come because of a certain style of football played throughout the league. The passing aspect of the game is prioritised the most, with Barcelona implementing the famous ‘tiki-taka’ to rip teams to shreds. This makes the league exciting to watch with all teams in the league trying to implement an enjoyable style of football

    Lionel Messi. Cristiano Ronaldo. Hands down the two best players in world football with comparisons made with Pelé and Maradona as the best player to ever grace the game. This can only attract fans to matches to appreciate just how good they are.

    They have broken their own records each year, competing against each other to be the best. The FIFA Ballon’dor top three over the past few years has been dominated by La Liga, adding another strength to the league.

    Weak defences have been a real issue in recent times. Poor defending in the bottom half of the league has resulted in more goals that could easily be prevented. A staggering 1118 goals were conceded during the 2016-17 season which has resulted into questions being raised as to whether top players such as Messi can perform at the same level in a different league.

    The competitiveness in the league has also been below standard. Before Atletico Madrid came into the frame a couple of years back, the title was only competed between Barcelona are Real Madrid, which boosted the Premier league’s claim to being the best in the world. However, teams such as Sevilla and Villarreal are making the league more competitive.

    Lionel Messi and Neymar for Barcelona (photo: AFP)

    (photo: AFP)

    Italian Serie A
    It was only ten years ago that the Serie A was the most exciting domestic league in world football. As a Milan and Italian league fan like myself, it’s sad to see such a decline.

    Italian clubs have fallen over the years simply because of financial disadvantages. They do not have the economic resources they once had to lure superstars such as Maradona, Zidane, Ronaldo, Kaka and Shevchenko to name a few. New investors for big clubs like Roma and the two Milan clubs have given hope to their fans that they will return to the top, but it wont happen overnight.

    Ever since Italia 90’, stadiums across the league have remained the same, resulting them into being very old and decay. This has resulted in attendance numbers plummeting to new lows which harms clubs financially.

    Juventus have won six Serie A titles in a row. That’s how uncompetitive the league has been for some time now. The only challengers recently have been Roma, but they can be hardly counted as a real threat.

    This only shows just how much clubs behind Juve need to improve during the transfer window to put up any sort of fight next season.

    Defending has been an art of Italian football for many decades. It has been the backbone to clubs’ success over the years. This remains the case today, although more goals were scored than any other of the top four leagues in Europe. Juventus have the best defence in the world without a doubt, and there are many up and coming central defenders such as Rugani, Romagnoli, Koulibaly and Caldara.

    Haters of Serie A will always come out and argue that games are always boring. It’s not Italy’s fault they produce great defenders. It just so happens to be that they are very good at that aspect of the game

    The fans and the atmosphere at almost nearly every game is always a joy to witness. Huge matches such as the Milan derby, Rome derby and Turin derby will never disappoint in bringing out great spectacle. The curva’s of these clubs are what makes them tick, always willing to be the ‘12th man’

    German Bundesliga
    The ’06 World Cup, hosted by Germany, is how the Bundesliga transformed into a powerhouse. The stadiums built for the tournament still look brand new to this day and it has helped clubs financially compete from top to bottom. The ‘yellow wall’ of Borussia Dortmund is known as the best active support in world football, which is even ahead of Bayern Munich, creating great crowd numbers.

    The youth systems are also the best in the world. Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos and many others have come up through the youth ranks and are now world beaters. Dortmund have the future set up for them, with the likes of Alexander Isak (17), Ousmane Dembele (20) and Christian Pulisic (18). This provides excitement, especially for young fans.

    Competitiveness has been an issue and I think any German fan can agree with me. Over the past ten years, Bayern Munich has come away with the league title with ease on seven of those occasions, managing to extend the gap in some seasons to as much as 20 points. Unlike the Premier League, it does not contain the drama that fans want to see during the final stages of the season.

    Red Bull Leipzig Bundesliga

    By Werner100359 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25974559 Bundesliga

    In terms of the football played, the bundesliga has always been exhilarating to watch. The likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Reus, Robert Lewandowski, Arjen Robben, Mario Gomez and Javier Hernandez always provide plenty of goals and many pieces of individual brilliance in front of goal. The story of RB Leipzig in 2016-17 shows how exciting the league can be with the right financial resources.

    On the European stage, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have managed to be second best to Spanish teams Barcelona and Real Madrid. This has dented it’s reputation both in the champions league and Europa league.

    Final verdict: Spanish La Liga
    Technique, skill, ability to read the play, world class talent, and most importantly, success on the European stage. These are the main reasons why La Liga edges out the Premier League.

    Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Luka modric, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique. These are names that just cannot be overlooked. To think that Premier league once contained the likes of Ronaldo, Bale, Suarez, Modric and Pique only highlights England’s downfall in terms of keeping hold of top talents.

    It’s because the Spanish league is more appealing financially and it provides the best chance possible to win trophies. Spain it is for me.

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    The Crowd Says (155)

    • July 1st 2017 @ 4:47am
      Partyhat said | July 1st 2017 @ 4:47am | ! Report

      cue 200 comments going round in circles, all depends what you’re looking for.
      If I can quickly say in defence of my fellow English folk, nobody ( apart from TV companies advertisements) would say in general that the standard ( apart from the top teams) in the EPL can match the other leagues. Everybody knows for the last few years, maybe decade, that the golden generation of Barca and to a lesser extent Real have been on a different level.
      The long ball stereotype is no more more valid about the english these days than thinking aussies just play cricket and surf and football is a novelty.
      Most English fans know that technically gifted, fluid ,skilful,passing teams are a beauty to watch when they’re in full flow but the important point is that ,as a generalisation, most English fans do not what to see slow lateral passing, going side to side between centre backs – they want ACTION and forward impetus, asap.

      You may not believe it but the team doing that can often be jeered by their own fans if they don’t feel they’re making an effort to get forward.
      The Spanish side that won the World Cup in 2010 had to be the most boring team in the tournament…..!( go watch the games again – it was painful)
      There’s often comments on here that players in the EPL are not as ‘technical’ but that I think is more to do with tactics/style than individual technique.
      Anyway, did I ever get to the point… probably not, basically Spanish edging at the moment (I love Real, hate Barca)
      Italy good, Germany good,France good- Vive la difference!
      …. Eng under 21s played some good stuff recently- and lost to Germany 🇩🇪 on pens……..

      Ps good luck in the qualifiers

      • July 1st 2017 @ 6:52am
        Partyhat said | July 1st 2017 @ 6:52am | ! Report

        Footnote** awesome German under 21 team win Euro championship against Spain playing….**gasp**’ , ….4-4-2….. shock
        Its as if it’s the talent rather than the specific system that counts…….hmmmmmm?

        Anyway, looking forward to 75 new articles on Ange’s back 3 or 2 or 4 or whatever argument is flavour of the month…

        • July 1st 2017 @ 3:08pm
          sRP said | July 1st 2017 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

          Germany U-21 played 4-1-4-1 in the semis and the final. I did not see the other games.

        • July 1st 2017 @ 5:28pm
          Footoverhand said | July 1st 2017 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

          It’s in their cariculum for youth teams to play 442, so it’s no surprise really.

    • Roar Rookie

      July 1st 2017 @ 6:52am
      Waz said | July 1st 2017 @ 6:52am | ! Report

      Seriously, it’s not even a question. It’s the A League!

      • July 1st 2017 @ 7:49am
        Partyhat said | July 1st 2017 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        To be fair Waz- you’re not wrong, love your own team.
        What people elsewhere don’t understand that a lot of people in U.K. couldn’t care less about EPL- they follow their own team. Me personally, I’m a Norwich fan ,(yes ,up/down/joy/pain) , still love the soap opera of the EPL and I’m absolutely loving the brilliant array of top class managers this year- I almost like the post match analysis of games and interviews with these characters more than the actual action !

      • July 1st 2017 @ 9:57am
        BigAl said | July 1st 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        Ditto!

    • July 1st 2017 @ 7:27am
      Caltex Ten & SBS support Australian Football said | July 1st 2017 @ 7:27am | ! Report

      Yes it’s the A-League by a mile.

    • July 1st 2017 @ 7:44am
      RBBAnonymous said | July 1st 2017 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      In terms of overall quality it would have to be Spain. The only problem is the two best sides in La Liga make it seem as if the rest of the teams are inferior, which is a mistake in itself. The fact is both Barcelona and Real Madrid would top the domestic league of every major European domestic competition if they were somehow a part of it. That is just a simple fact. They are both phenomenal sides that no side in the EPL (as an example) would get near to in a full season.

      In terms of what gets my full attention and interest I have to agree with the posters above, it has to be the A-league. Still a long way to go but still a great competition.

    • July 1st 2017 @ 8:20am
      Brisvegas said | July 1st 2017 @ 8:20am | ! Report

      The A-league is far more entertaining than any other league, as far as I’m concerned, and it is the most difficult to predict.

      Intrigued by this bit: “Every single stadium associated with a Premier League club is seen as high quality … However, the atmosphere within these stadiums is very unattractive and take away a lot from the spectacle.”

      I’d argue with the first statement, though many teams have changed grounds since my heyday, still, I’m not sure if Bournemouth have what would be considered a high quality stadium. And what’s so ‘unattractive’ about the atmosphere I wonder? My experience of game day in the UK is that it is highly atmospheric. So atmospheric in fact that it makes the game itself seem much better than it actually is.

    • Columnist

      July 1st 2017 @ 8:45am
      Stuart Thomas said | July 1st 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      A- league for me. Unless you support one of the big six in the epl (Leicester aside) the big two in La Liga, or Juventus, the entertainment value is not there. Most young people latch onto one of those teams and cheerlead, thus perpetuating the cycle of success that locks out other clubs. Only a billionaire can turn it around.

      Ps west ham and chievo for me.

      • Roar Pro

        July 1st 2017 @ 11:09am
        Christian Montegan said | July 1st 2017 @ 11:09am | ! Report

        The A-league still has a long way to go Stuart. Once the salary cap is gone and relegation is included, the league will not be able to take the next step forward like the MLS

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