Talking about La Liga, what mostly come up in our mind? Numerous world class players but only 2 world class teams. But we have seen quite surprising things in the last 2-3 seasons which shows that La Liga is no longer a two-horse league anymore.
Over the past decade the two main powerhouse, Barcelona and Real Madrid, were the only thing worthy of notice for the foreign football fans. The likes of Zidane, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Raul, over-shadowed the qualities of other teams. And nonetheless they were winning trophies outside Spain too. But as other teams failed to show up the same quality of players and gameplay in La Liga, it was tend to be labelled as a ‘two-horse league’.
But over the past 3 years things have changed quite a lot. The mid-table minnows Atletico Madrid were seen as a top contender in European competitions since bagging two Europa League title in 3 years (2010, 2012). And this season they are second in the table being seven points clear off the defending champions Real Madrid. And with the likes of top players like Falcao and Adrian Lopez, they have proved that the two El Clasico sides are not the only attraction point of La Liga. They even won the European Super Cup against European Champions Chelsea, thumping them to a 4-1 humiliation.
Taking example of last year, we clearly saw another La Liga minnow, Atletic Bilbao, defeating the well-established Premier League club Manchester United. They completely dominated the game making Manchester United strong line-up intimidated. It was a shocking defeat for them and European sides were quite amazed by the display put up by the young Los Leones.
One thing La Liga has never failed to bring forth is the youth division. Fresh players from every La Liga side have made their mark permanent. Whether it be Barcelona’s Messi or Malaga’s young sensation Isco. La Liga has reinforced Spanish squad with these professionals. The 2010 World Cup winning XI of Spain included only 3 players over the age of 30. La Liga has enrichened the young talent of Spain and have managed to put up some great football.
Young players like David De Gea, Juan Mata, Michu, Santi Cazorla, have paved their way up to the professional level. But is it just a coincidence that all of the above mentioned players are from Barclays Premier League? Is Barclays Premier League better and more followed than La Liga? Yes, Premier League is more followed by the fans because of its popularity. Media section is where La Liga has failed to deliver. Santi Cazorla played in La Liga for nine years. He won Spanish Player of the year award in 2007 and was included in EURO 2008 and Euro 2012 squads. But hardly any fans knew him outside Spain. Since joining Arsenal Cazorla’s popularity has been quite recognizable. Same goes for Swansea City’s Michu. After getting snubbed by six English clubs he finally signed for Swansea City for a bargain £2 million move. It was just a matter of some games that he cemented his place and became widely popular throughout Europe. Scoring goals and winning his sides big games against big guns of Premier League. Currently he has scored 16 goals in 24 games in all competition for Swansea. He has finally earned Vincente Del Bosque’s praise, who promised him that he will earn his first international cap very soon in the upcoming Friendly game against Uruguay.
If La Liga starts to broadcast more game worldwide it will get the same popularity as other European leagues. Even for now the competition is getting very tough in La Liga. Every team is trying to push their way out. Thus, keeping all of these things in mind La Liga can never be branded as a ‘two-horse league’ by a football enthusiast.