The State of Spanish Club Football

May 27, 2019

Written by:

La Liga

Founded: 1929

Most Championships: Real Madrid, 33

Last 5 WinnersBarcelona (18/19, 17/18, 15/16, 14/15), Real Madrid (16/17)

UEFA Ranking: 1st

Highest Ranked Club: Real Madrid, 1st


Interview with ESPN.co.uk editor, David Cartlidge

Is there a feeling in Spain that after so many years of dominating European football, that they may be about to be knocked off their perch?

There is a concern, yes. The fear is the next generation of talent hasn’t progressed well, nor is of the level of previous groups. I think the attitude is different too; the younger players don’t seem as dedicated or mentally tough.

Is anything but success in both competitions seen as a disappointment in Spain?

Absolutely. Spain still feels their brand of football is the best. I think they’re right too. The level of player, technical ability etc, remains very high.

How seriously is the Europa League taken by the Spanish clubs that enter the competition?

Very seriously, because it’s their best chance of winning something. Barcelona and Real Madrid still dominate at the top, and Atletico Madrid too. Even Atleti had to suck it up recently and put in strong Europa League performances to win the competition. It was their best chance of winning. So yes, clubs such as Valencia, Villarreal etc look upon it favourably.

What reaction has there in Spain to EL 2 and the new proposed changes to the CL?

Disappointment. They’re very traditional in Spain on many levels, that includes matters beyond football too. So any new, radical approaches to the game are frowned upon. There are a lot of things wrong with football, fix those first. That is the view, really.

Do most of the country get behind the Spanish sides playing in Europe or is there still a lot of tribalism apparent?

There is pride when Spain is on top, but still a lot of tribalism. Barcelona and Real Madrid are so hated outside of their own fanbases. No one wants to see them doing well. Then, you also won’t get Villarreal fans cheering on Valencia for example.

What would you like to see UEFA do to level the playing field more for the smaller European sides?

I think the Europa League is a great competition and doesn’t deserve the criticism it gets. Just get more money behind it, to the clubs, and offer more incentive for those who are successful. Outside of that, FPP seems a myth, doesn’t it? Obviously, that needs to clamped down upon and any form of linked sponsorship through schemes/companies ran by owners…that needs sorting.

Interview with ESPN.co.uk editor, David Cartlidge

Find all your Champions League betting odds here

A Europa League infographic


Author: Tom Mortimer

Tom is the editor at Betting Circle and has been creating online content for over 10 years. Tom mainly writes about sport and gambling, but every now and then also delves into fleshier subjects like politics and psychology. When he was 18 he created HungarianFootball.com and over the last few years he's written on a freelance basis for ESPN, WorldSoccer, Goal.com, among many others.

Twitter @TMortimerFtbl


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