The final sprint for La Liga race has come. Five games left and four candidates. The football world ‘experts’ have been warning about the Spanish league decline for already two years, mostly based on the most recent outcomes in the European barometer, the Champions League.
We have also tried to draw a line all season long to show you all the different perspectives of the issue: the offensive decline, the ball possession debate, the influence of financial power between the clubs that just came up in the Premier League and La Liga. Everything that we considered important.
However, now that the decisive time has finally come, there is a clear fact if you look at table: La Liga is a very exciting competition. It is actually the tightest one in the European ‘top 5’. Atlético, Madrid Barça and Sevilla have all chances to be the new Champions.
Let´s go back to a decade ago. Messi and Cristiano dominated the world and, as a consequence, their two clubs. There was no discussion. La Liga was a two-team tournament, do you remember that? And that was very boring at all, because the title was always between one of the same two over and over again. There were not any competitors. No alternative. Since the last time that a different club conquered La Liga, which was Valencia in the 03-04 season, to Atlético´s achievement in the 13-14, were 10 years. Always the same for a decade.
10 endless years for many where La Liga dominated in the Champions League thanks to Barça and Madrid. That is why Cholo´s feat to sneak a title from the two giants and becoming the third candidate from that year on was amazing. They have always fought for the title since then. Cristiano left and Madrid needed a season to rebuild and heal. Messi tried to do the same but it did not work out. The two teams started to decrease their level and not perform well in Europe after Real Madrid´s hegemony for the ages.
Football became more conservative, offensive actions lowered, coaches began to worry more about their rivals than themselves. Everything changed. However, there are seven games left and there are not just three candidates but a fourth one, which was unthinkable a decade ago. Moreover, other clubs like Real Sociedad in football and titles, and Granada by qualifying to Europe have grown exponentially, apart from Sevilla´s dominance in the Europa League.
Maybe we have lost football, maybe others are better now, but there is something clear: La Liga today is the most exciting tournament and Real Madrid are still alive in their ‘other competition’. Many would have wished this was a reality ten years ago.