Back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Italy undeniably played host to the best footballing league Europe had to offer.
From the golden days of Gabriel Batistuta, Roberto Baggio and Ronaldo, to the more modern era sporting the likes of Alessandro Del Piero, Paolo Maldini and Kaka – Serie A has long since had a proud history of true footballing greats, and even better teams.
In the current climate of the beautiful game however, Italy has somewhat been overtaken by the likes of England, Germany and potentially even France in the realms of European sporting competition – with the Spanish La Liga clearly acting as the continent’s most dominant footballing league at the moment.
Whether it be through the several legal blows dealt to Italian football in regards to match fixing and outside betting, the sheer volume of oversees players currently plying their trade abroad in recent years, or just because the money no longer seems to be flowing as rapidly as it once did in Serie A – Spain have seemingly overtaken Italy as the home of Europe’s most formidable league.
So, as this particular notion seems to indicate that all footballing powerhouses eventually fall by the wayside as time plays out, just how long will teams from La Liga continue to overshadow the rest of their European counterparts and dominate football in this part of the world?
Well if recent Champions League proceedings are to have their say on the matter, outfits from Spain seemingly have a long time ahead of them as the true kings of Europe. Yes, the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid have obviously had a strong foothold on European football almost as soon as the sport itself became a tradition – but because the last two UCL winners have been Barca and Real – now seems to be a real time for Spanish dominance.
Barcelona are clearly the best team in the world at the moment. When your starting forward line-up consists of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar (with a certain Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic operating just behind), it doesn’t take much of a footballing genius to tell that Luis Enrique’s side are not to be taken lightly.
They proved the clear victors in the final last time out, somewhat easily beating Juventus and subsequently proving their lofty status in the Champions League.
Although Real Madrid were famously knocked out in the semi-finals against Juve however, Rafa Benitez’ new side are also arguably right up there with their famous rivals Barca.
Rightly or wrongly, Cristiano Ronaldo is the current pin-up boy for the whole world of football at the moment – so as long as the talented Portuguese front-man continues to ply his trade at the Bernabeu with a whole host of star-studded names alongside him – Real Madrid will always remain a true force in Europe.
Los Blancos successfully won the Champions League last year, and although 2014/15 somewhat turned out to be a season to forget for Madrid, no one could have accused them of looking particularly weak at any point during this campaign.
It remains to be said that teams from the Premier League, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga arguably aren’t operating at the same level as the La Liga giants. With Bayern Munich perhaps acting as the only exception to the rule, the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, PSG, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund ultimately don’t provide Real or Barca with much of a test in the cold light of day.
Some of those aforementioned sides may have similar amounts of financial power behind them as the 2015/16 season approaches – but as none of them can match their finances to an untouchable history laden with success and silverware – the Spanish front-runners arguably remain the best of the best.
Even in the Europa League, La Liga outfits often prove much more formidable than their counterparts on the continent. Seville have successfully won the title two seasons in a row now, with the likes of Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid also proving dominant in the tournament not so long ago.
Yes, it seems La Liga really does play host to the most dominant teams in Europe – that much remains pretty clear. Although Spain may not be able to match the same level of diversity, tradition and competition found elsewhere – it ultimately remains hard to imagine the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid ever being pushed from the top any time soon.