Barclays Premier League, top division of English football, is renowned for and often referred to as the best league in the world. Counter argument to this opinion is provided by Spain’s top division, Liga de Futbol Profesional i.e. La Liga. It’s a constant battle between fans and pundits of both the leagues and although La Liga has come close in recent times, there are significant factors which make the Premier League standout.
One major factor influential in this debate is the unpredictability of the two leagues. Nine out of the last 10 seasons have been won by either Real Madrid or Barcelona. They’ve won 57 titles between them out of a total of 86 La Liga seasons. The two teams combined have also finished 47 seasons as runners-up. Whereas in the Premier League, the scenario is completely different. There are as many as 6 teams competing for the trophy every season except for the period between 1996 and 2004 where Manchester United and Arsenal had always been the front-runners. With the huge influx of money in the league by foreign owners since 2004, teams like Chelsea and Manchester City started competing on a regular basis. This drastic change in the business of football had an impact on teams in the lower half of the table as well; ability to buy players which were way out of their budget before contributed to the ever-increasing competition, ultimately making the league more entertaining. In terms of technical ability La Liga has the best players in the world with Messi, Suarez, Bale, Ronaldo, etc. and some might say event the best two clubs in the world, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Premier League is streets ahead in terms of unpredictability and entertainment as shown by Leicester City’s one of the most remarkable stories in the history of English football when they won the Premier League title in 2016.
The huge injection of cash from the TV deal is another influential factor. It allows the bottom clubs to sustain just by staying in the Premier League which is not the case in Spain. Coaches and players who have played in either of the leagues too regard Premier League as the best. Arsene Wenger defines the Premier League as the ‘World Championship of Coaches’. Former Premier League players have called it ‘the toughest league to win’. Broadcasting is also a major factor since it affects the revenue generated by the two leagues. In the Premier League, even a manager of a newly promoted club gets the headlines whereas in Spain, the papers and coverage is about the power of Real Madrid and Barcelona and the El Clasicos, thereby restricting the progress of mid-table and bottom clubs in terms of revenue generated.
This season, Premier League will all be about unpredictability, exciting football and drama. In Spain, it will be yet another season of domination by Real Madrid and Barcelona.