Monday, 3 August 2009

Is La Liga the best?

As we're closing in to the start of the season, I think one big question in every football fans head is, will the Spanish La Liga be the best league in the coming season? Now when players like Benzema, Kaká, Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic have moved in, the Spanish league has seven of the ten best players in the world if you follow the 2008 FIFA player of the year award.

The interesting part of the story is that, Premier League probably last winter was seen as the best league, and I think that was the case even after Barça outnumbered Manchester United in the Champions League final.

But last winter the number from the top ten best players in La Liga was six. So does the transfer of Ronaldo mean so much? No, I don't think so. Kaká and Ronaldo are the only two of the incoming players that fits the top ten. Benzema not even in the top 20, and Ibrahimovic on a 16th place. Eto'o was in the top ten, but shipped out to Inter.

But still the main problem in the last years have been, for the Spanish teams, to succeed in Europe. It's not enough to have the best players and win league titles, you have to win the Champions League too, or at least the UEFA cup, or next season the UEFA Europe League. But Barcelona won the Champions League, isn't the La Liga the best now? The answer is simple: No. Why?

Premier League still had three teams in the top four, which has been the case since the season 2006-07. On that season Milan was the only non-English team, and the two following years it was Barça. How could a change be made in this? Well, it's hard, since English teams play a very defensive and boring game as we know. Yes, it can be entertaining sometimes, but basically we all know is that English teams just park the bus away against technical, possessive and offensive teams like Barcelona. That's not fun, but it's working indeed.

I think what Spanish teams need to learn is the same as the English ones are able to do. Park the bus, or, find an effective way to break through it. The latter is probably the more suitable idea since we like offensive football, don't we?

I'm not that much of an coach or tactical expert, but what we need is probably shots, something at least Barça is lacking in my opinion. Or we did until a young guy named Rueda showed us how to do it. We have to shoot from long ranges too! Not try to pass the ball into the box, so we could pass a few times more, and a few seconds later pick the ball from our own goal after a succesful English counter attack.

Physically thougher play is something we also need. English teams play more rugby than football to me sometimes, but that's succesful against ball playing teams. This perhaps sounds odd, but as an ice hockey player, and footballer too, I know that you need to be physical to get your space and time.

The third thing that needs to be used more in my eyes is through passes. Just kick the ball towards the corner and run for it. Those passes (if they succeed) rambles the defense a bit, and a dangerous attack could be launched. With players in the Spanish teams like Ronaldo, Messi, Agüero, David Villa, Ibrahimovic and so on, we should be albe to do this. It would be nice to give it a try every now and then, when the tici-taca doesn't give results. Off course through passes are harder to work out on an English pitch than on a Spanish, but give it a shot.

Enough said, I hope that Spanish clubs could succeed better this year in European competitions, and I think they could since the potential is there, just waiting to be used. Unfortunately, Valencia isn't playing the Champions League next year, and I think they belong there, but at least I hope they're compete for the Europe League title. If they only could get the economic side working, they'll be back on track again with the sports side too.

Are we too optimistic if we expect a clasico in the Bernabeu on May 22nd?



Anonymous said...

chelsea against barca in the final ^^

RM Fan will watch barca celebrating another CL ....

is that too optimistic?


_barcelonista_ said...

no..that is realistic.. :) :)

BarcaFan(BiH) said...

Serie A is the best. They have world-class players who could play for the big four in England on every team. Italy has the best football culture by far. You have to be the most complete player to succeed in the Italian League. Even though it's financially on the downside, its history makes it the best domestic league in the world. It will recover eventually, just a matter of time. Now some will disagree with me, but that's just how i see it. If I have to choose between watching the typical game of the EPL or Calcio, I'd choose the Italian match any day.

0marX said...

Crushing Real Madrid in the final would be a much sweeter joy though! ;)
Chelsea in the semi's again, and this time we will DESTROY the bus!

barca4life said...

Since the champions league has started in 1993-1994. Spainish teams have wont it 5 times, Italian teams 4 times English teams 3 times and german teams twice with teams from holland france and portugal claiming one title each. EPL "dominance" is a little bit of hype and a big bit of luck.

When you look at arsenal sneaking past roma on pens this year or man utd getting past Porto who really should have beaten them, having 3 out of 4 teams in the semis this year was very lucky on the part of the english

Anonymous said...

BiH: You are living in the past. These days, it is about money, and Italy does not do well economically for many years, and they don't have dodgy investors with bottomless pockets either. Berlu is a rich and dodgy man, yes, but his pockets for Milan is not bottomless by any means. Look at Milan's team. Half their team is older than 45. How can they win anything with such a team. What have they used the Kaka money on? They don't have money to bring great, young players into their team, so they buy 50 year olds.

Anonymous said...

Spot on barca4life... But the thing with EPL fans is they won't accept the fact

Anonymous said...


Italian dominance ended a long time ago. They've been weaker than both La Liga and EPL for quite a time now. After this summer, they lost their 2 biggest players (Kaka, Ibrahimovic). Their other stars are aging (Del Piero, Nesta, Pirlo) or retired (Maldini). Series A will be closer to the Bundesliga now than La Liga or EPL. Actually the Bundesliga might give Series A a run for its money soon, and La Liga is probably a step above the EPL too.

BlaugranaIRE said...

Is La Liga the best? Yes it is. so what if there was 3 epl teams in the last four. it was a la liga side who won everything. sorry but rubbish article.

Anonymous said...

While they lost Kaka & Ibra they brought in the likes of Diego, Eto'o, Julio Cruz... Also Melo could be considered quite a big addition now that he's at a bigger club comparatively. With Lucio, Cruz, Eto'o and more potential signings possible Inter Milan is gonna be huge threat in the Champions League next year. As also Juventus.
P.S. Chelsea were just past Juventus last time :)

Josep said...

The only real spanish competitors in the champion league are barca and real madrid. Atletico madrid and sevilla are too weak. i think they will be got elimated quite early.
during this preseason, at madrid has really poor performance..can even beat paris..very terrible defense

Anonymous said...

preseason doesn't mean anything. Sevilla and Atletico have kept all their players, and look quite strong. Both these teams can reach semis with some luck. Bundesliga will soon be better than Serie A. Milan is getting worse and worse every year.

Josep said...

i mean atletico madrid can't even beat paris

Anonymous said...

I disagree with this post on so many levels.

First of all, English teams have won nothing but one CL while their "domination" lasted.

Spanish teams don't need to learn anything from the English teams.

What makes English clubs so strong is the fact that their managers have total control over the club's sporting issues so they can make a project that lasts longer than those in the Spanish clubs.

In Spain teams usually change their coaches every 2-3 years even if they bring some titles.

Sir Alex would not survive more than 1 trophyless season in Madrid or Barca as he did in Man. Utd.

So Spanish teams don't have change their philosophy and adopt the english , physical way of playing football.

In form Spanish teams(like Barca last season)almost always beat in form English teams.

Also, a ball kicked towards the corner isn't a proper through ball. That's a huge waste of time just to earn some space.

A good through ball should be allow the striker to face the goalkeeper.

Watch Ronnie's pass to Eto'o in the CL final against Arsenal (when Lehmann earned a red card,)

Josep said...

We will see then...remember my name: Josep. It is me who say atletico madrid and sevilla are too weak in champion league to make impact

Anonymous said...

Ronnie's pass was a terrible pass. Yes, it succeeded, but it was too risky, and we hadn't built up our game play at that time. The ball could have been easily lost with that pass. We should use the sides of the pitch more against those defensive teams, not just try to get things through the middle.

barca4life said...

What about valencia and villareal josep? atletico were robbed by liverpool this season and villareal have held man utd to 4 scoreless draws in recent seasons. valencia reached the final 2 years running in the past decade. Now with villa silva mata pablo and other great players they are a force to be reckoned with. They may not be on the same level as arsenal but they can compete with the best champions league teams when they put their mind to it

Sandvik said...

I believe you have to compare all the teams in both leagues, to get a more realistic view on it.

Torres said after has first season in england, that the weakest teams in La liga are better than the weakest in PL. And therefore he said La Liga was better.
this summer he mentioned that Pl was better.

So to compare the leagues,you have to compare all the teams, not just the top four against, Barca and real

mario ch said...

i disagree with your statements.

Bole7 said...

@ Josep.

Yes, Sevilla and Atletico might be weak to make an impact in CL but that doesn't make EPL better league.

EPL's UEFA Cup teams (Europa League now) are too weak to challenge La Liga's teams that play in UEFA Cup.

As Sandvik said before you need to compare all the teams and in that case I believe that La Liga will get at least 15 wins if every English team plays with it's equivalent from Spain.

@ Anony

Ronnie's pass was terrible?
When did you start watching Barca?

Ronnie at his best could complete pass like that at least once per game.

Deco was amazing with that kind of passing too.

I'm the anonymous that posted the 14 post.

Tomas said...

Has anyone in here a link to the whole match against LA Galaxy? I missed it and the highlights isnt enough.

Anonymous said...

Spain UCL 12 (9 real 3 barca)
Italy UCL 11
England UCL 11
2010 win CHELSEA ??

Anonymous said...

Real's first 6 titles is a joke! The other European cup was much stronger before than it was now. Remember, only the champions from each country in Europe could play in the champions league before, while the other European Cup had half a dozen of the best teams from each of the best leagues in Europe. You could argue that it was harder to win the predecessor to the UEFA cup than the predecessor to UCL. Just telling you.

vin19 said...

Simply, it is about what style of football you like to watch.

I think and have always felt that La Liga is a footballers league in it purest form. Many teams are focussed on playing the game and playing it in the right fashion. But EPL has too many teams, espeically Manchester Utd and Chelsea who play for results --they both play in a manner that is efficient but not very entertaining. Of course, if a team wins the don't care too much about entertainment, however, it tells me that there is a real lack of passion for the game.

English fans would always claim that the EPl is the best because more teams can win it, but I don't care if there were ten who could, if they don't play well what is so great about that. Alos, as mentioned more physical doesn't make the league better, nor does Champions results as the English dominance conincidence with numerous teams inability to perform well in the competition (R. Madrid, Inter, Lyon, Munich etc.)

fcb_india said...

liga is better than EPL... look at the clubs out of top four.. there are at the most 4 teams that can give a fight... but in liga there is no such clear flopo team

and dnt talk about pre-season please...
espanyol defeated liverpool 3-0 in pre-season... does that make anyhting clear??

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