La Liga soccer ball - Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División

Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División

No, this article isn’t Spanish, but the league is, though it is more commonly referred to simply as La Liga. It is the top football competition in Spain sponsored by the Santander Group. There are 20 teams, two domestic cups, 90 years of existence, and 33 wins for Real Madrid.

We are going to take a moment today and discuss the inception of this league, its rank in Europe, and the numerous athletes the football enthusiasts cheer for all over the world. Its fan are just as passionate about it as Super Bowl fans – so much so that the Super Bowl odds are viewed as much as the La Liga one’s. Without further ado, here are a few interesting bits of information on La Liga.

The Beginnings

fotball stadium Spain 300x240 - Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División

Did you know that the original ten teams competing in the Spanish national league are still around? See if you can recognize some of the names: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Arenas Club de Getxo, Real Unión, Atlético Madrid, Espanyol, and Europa. They all had the honour of participating in what was going to be one of the best leagues, not only in Europe, but the world as well. The teams were chosen based on their performance in Copa del Rey, where most of them won the title at least once and some of the teams listed were high-ranking runners-up.

The first La Liga in 1929 was won by Barcelona and, in 1935, Betis Balompié won their one and only title. They would later change their name into Real Betis. The politics surrounding the country, unfortunately, had a great effect on the sport. When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, the league was put on hold until 1939, when the war was over.

Barcelona

This team has been the stars of the show from the get-go. Even more fascinating, Barcelona was reborn in the 90s when it became the meeting place of the best of the best. It didn’t matter whether their players were Dutch, Bulgarian, or Brazilian – if they were superstars, they were in. One of the reasons for Barcelona’s success is that they were among the first, if not the first, to implement a strategy where every player is fit to play every role and pick up the slack in case another team member is unable to do what they are supposed to.

Camp Nou - Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División

Current Format and Trivia

There are 20 teams that compete for the title, though it is almost always certain that the winner will be either Barcelona or Real Madrid. If a team ends up in one of the last three places at the end of the season, they are relegated to Segunda Division, or the Second Division. To climb back up, the team has to be one of the first two in the Second Division. ‘What happens to the best teams in La Liga?’, you may ask. Well, the top four teams are eligible to compete in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

An interesting note – though Barcelona is the current champion, in addition to being the first ever, the largest number of titles won goes to Real Madrid. On the other hand, Barcelona has the top scorer in the league, Lionel Messi, with over 400 goals to his name.