Monday, November 29, 2010

Best league...?

Any football fan in his/her right mind should be looking forward to tonight's match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Between them the teams assemble some 13 world champions and some of the best players in the world. It will be a splendid match.
However, for the Spanish football league, this cannot be good. Last season these two teams completely ruled the league, and this season they are again far ahead of the third ranked team. Truth is, the Spanish league is a two-team league, just like the Scottish, where the rest of the teams have just been relegated to be mere spectators. Barcelona and Real Madrid win every week, and the only interest when they are not playing one another, is how large their margin of victory will be.
Thus, the Spanish league may have the two best teams in the world, but it is surely not the best league: when matches between Getafe and Athletic Bilbao hardly raise an eyebrow, and the largest surprise is if Barcelona "only" wins 2-1 against Mallorca, it proves that the league is far less interesting than the English, Italian or German leagues, where competition is much closer, and there is a high standard.
Again, while any fan must love two teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid, in the long run this cannot be healthy for Spanish football at large: there will be disillusion among other teams who simply cannot compete, and interest will fall, in the end creating a smaller future generation of new Spanish players. The Spanish football league, including Barcelona and Real Madrid, would do better to try to create a system like in Germany or England, where TV money is distributed more evenly and there is more possibility for teams to retain young stars. A more equal playing field can only be of interest to Spain!

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