There are many football leagues and divisions that are popular in various countries around the world, and one of the most popular divisions in the Spanish football league system is La Liga. This division, which has the full name “Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División,” is a top professional football division that is administered by the Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional and has 20 teams competing for the trophy of the division.
What’s interesting about La Liga is that the three teams with the lowest rankings or placements during the season would be replaced by the top two teams and the play-off winner of the Segunda Division, a division in the Spanish football league system that serves as the lower class division of La Liga, hence the reason why many call the Segunda Division as “La Liga 2.” To learn more about the prestigious football division in Span, here are pieces of information about La Liga.
La Liga’s Prestige and Popularity
La Liga serves as the top league in Europe from 2013 to 2019, and its ranking in the UEFA’s league coefficient rankings is mainly attributed to how good the teams are in La Liga and how popular the division is. La Liga has led as the top league of the said continent for 22 of the 60 ranked years until 2019, which is a record for the most number-one-ranking placements out of all divisions in Europe.
There are 62 teams that have competed in the La Liga since its creation In 1929, with Real Madrid winning the most titles with 35 total trophies. In the 1940s, Atletico Madrid, Valencia, and Barcelona were considered the top clubs in the division, as they just swapped rankings for the trophy for several years.
However, by the 1950s, the division was dominated by Barcelona and Real Madrid. Then, in the 1960s and 1970s, Real Madrid was regarded as the sole dominator of the division, as the club was able to win fourteen titles, although Atletico Madrid was able to win four during those periods.
During the 80s and 90s, Real Madrid would still have prominence in La Liga, although the Basque clubs called Real Sociedad and Athletic Club would have two titles each. Then in the late 90s up to the 2000s, it was Barcelona that dominated the division, as they have won sixteen titles.
La Liga is incredibly popular in Spain, as it would have an average attendance of 26,933 during the matches in the 2018 to 2019 season. The average attendance in La Liga is the third-highest of any professional football league in the world, with the first being Bundesliga in Germany and the second being the Premier League in England.
La Liga is one of the “Big Five” European leagues along with Bundesliga, the Premier League, Serie A (Italy), and Ligue 1 (France). Interestingly, La Liga is also the sixth-wealthiest sports league in the world in terms of revenue, after the NFL (American football), MLB (baseball), the NBA (basketball), the Premier League (football or soccer), and the NHL (ice hockey).
The Creation of La Liga
Jose Maria Acha, a director of the Spanish football club named Arenas Club de Getxo (known simply as “Getxo”), proposed an idea in April 1928 about a national football league in Spain. There were numerous debates as to how large the league should be and how many football clubs should participate, but after a while, the Real Federación Española de Fútbol, the governing body of football divisions in Spain, agreed to place ten teams that would play in matched in the first Primera Division in 1929. Here is a short list of the ten teams that participated in the very first La Liga season.
- Futbol Club Barcelona (Barcelona)
- Real Madrid Club de Fútbol (Real Madrid)
- Real Sociedad de Fútbol (Real Sociedad)
- Real Union Club, S.A.D. (Real Union)
- Athletic Bilbao (Athletic Club)
- Arenas Club de Getxo (Getxo)
- Club Atlético de Madrid, S.A.D. (Atletico Madrid)
- Reial Club Deportiu Espanyol de Barcelona (Espanyol)
- Club Esportiu Europa (Europa)
- Real Racing Club de Santander, S.A.D. (Racing de Santander)
The first six clubs on the list qualified for the first La Liga season by winning Copa del Rey, a yearly knockout football competition in Spain. The next three clubs qualified as the runners-up of Copa del Rey, while the last club, Racing de Santander, qualified through another knockout competition.
Barcelona was the first La Liga trophy holder when they won the championship game in 1929. The second and third La Liga titles would then be won by Athletic Club. Real Madrid would win the next two titles in 1932 and 1933. From then on, it would be the Athletic Club that would dominate the 1930s when they won the titles in 1934 and 1936 while also being in the top ranking in the following years. Unfortunately, Athletic Club
La Liga Football Clubs with the Most Titles
La Liga has been dominated by two clubs from its creation in 1929 up to the 2020s, and these two clubs are Real Madrid and Barcelona. One of the reasons why these two clubs have always been at the top of the rankings in La Liga is because of how well they recruit and draft some of the best players in football history.
Some of the best and most iconic football players that played for Real Madrid include Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, Alfredo Di Stefano, and Zinedine Zidane, while Barcelona had Lionel Messi, Xavi, Ronaldinho, Carles Puyol, and Johan Cruyff. Besides Real Madrid and Barcelona, there are also some clubs that have won multiple titles in the La Liga, although their dominance is short-lived. Check out the list of La Liga football clubs with the most titles below.
- Real Madrid – 35 titles
- Barcelona – 26 titles
- Atletico Madrid – 11 titles
- Athletic Bilbao (Athletic Club) – 8 titles
- Valencia – 6 titles
- Real Sociedad – 2 titles
And these are all the details that you should know about La Liga and the division’s best football clubs. Fortunately, even if you are not in Spain, you can easily watch La Liga games since most of the matches are televised on TV and are live-streamed on various streaming platforms on the internet. Watch the La Liga games and see how good the matches, the clubs, and the players are in the division.