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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.
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.
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’
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.
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.