La Liga vs Premier League
Are Ronaldo and Messi on a different level or is it the standard of La Liga?
Last season Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo set Europe alight with some astonishing football and goals galore. Messi scored 73 goals in all competitions compared to 60 from Cristiano Ronaldo however this was mostly in domestic competition. If Messi was ever persuaded to move to the English Premier League, or likewise, Ronaldo to return, would they get anywhere near the quantity of goals they gather in Spain?
There has been a lot of debate over the years with regards to which is the better league in terms of quality, La Liga or the Premier League?
For the last few seasons La Liga has purely been a two horse 'SPL style' race, (Barcelona/Real Madrid) with no-one really paying any attention to the remaining clubs in the league. However in European competitions, Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Athletic Bilbao have given our English 'Big Boys' some tough matches in recent times. Last seasons Europa League saw La Liga mid-table side Bilbao pass Manchester United, who were the reigning Premier League champions, completely off the field.
To prove this was not luck, they were victorious home and away convincingly knocking the Red Devils out of the tournament. Bilbao went on to reach the final to face, fellow La Liga side, Atletico Madrid whom beat Valencia in the semi-final. Bilbao were brushed aside in the final as Madrid strolled to a comfortable 3-0 win.
The Europa League also saw Manchester City, who were knocked out in the group stages of the Champions League, make their debut in the competition. With hopes of silverware City were stunned by Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon as they were beaten on away goals, Lisbon went on to reach the semi-final.
The same 2011/12 season, Chelsea placed some quite exquisite Stoke City-esc football to win the Champions League. Despite being thoroughly outplayed in the semi-final and the final they weathered the storm to lift the trophy. This was not deserved. Barcelona and Real Madrid made it to the semi-finals and if truth be told, that would have made for a more deserving final.
After winning the Champions League, Chelsea would begin their 2012/13 season against Europa League winners Atletico Madrid in the Uefa Super Cup. On paper Chelsea, champions of Europe, would be far too strong for the winners of the Europa league. Chelsea lost 4-0.
The leagues themselves are not too dissimilar, La Liga has the big two, Real Madrid and Barcelona whereas the Premier League has the Manchester couple, City and United. What La Liga does not have is a side like Stoke City. Should Messi, Xavi, Iniesta etc ever visit The Britannia, their game would have to change drastically. The physical side of the Premier League makes it almost impossible to compare these two leagues fully. The football that is played is worlds apart; on quality and technique the Spaniards have this down to a tee. Of course the likes of Mata, Silva and Cazorla show glimpses of this in England but nothing on the scale of what La Liga produces.
Many people say the Premier League is 'the best league in the world'. I agree, but not for quality of football reasons. The Premier League is the best league in the world for excitement, week in week out there are defensive errors, shock results, goalkeeping howlers and goals galore, it is this rather than great football that makes the league so special. For the neutral, the Premier League is a fantastic watch, but if it's top draw football you are after, La Liga is the place to go.