Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"A boring league"

Just read an interview with the successful Atletico Madrid coach, Diego Simeone, in which he calls the Spanish league "boring". In spite of his team's second place in the league he says his only expectation when the league started was to bother the two great teams, and this he has greatly succeeded at. But still, his team has to fight hard to win every match, and their second place is also, in my view, because of the prolonged crisis that Real Madrid has been in. And I certainly agree with Diego Simeone when he says it is laughable to talk about crisis in FC Barcelona, when the team has won 12 league matches and is quite uncontested in first spot.
In reality one needs only to look at the history of the Spanish league in the last years to see how boring it is: not since 2008 has another team than Real Madrid and Barcelona been in top-2 (Villarreal, who trailed Real Madrid for the title). Not since 2004 has another team than Real Madrid or FC Barcelona won the title (Valencia, ahead of Barcelona). In 2012 the point difference between number 2 (FC Barcelona) and number 3 (Valencia), was 30 points, which was greater than the difference between number 3 and number 19 (Sporting de Gijon), who went down to second division, just showing the Spanish league to be a league of two teams fighting for the title and 18 teams fighting for survival.
One can say that this is because Real Madrid and Barcelona simply are better, but this is overly to simplify it. Both teams have advantages that the other teams can only dream about. While all teams struggle financially, both teams seem to have never-ending amounts of money, negotiating their own TV deals, which are worth more than the entire rest of the league together. As such, they continue promoting themselves as global brands and making money, perpetuating their superiority.
It is refreshing that Atletico Madrid is up there, bothering the dominance of the two Monster-clubs, but just as Simeone, we all know it is just for a little while, and that Atletico has no chance of taking the title in the near future. Maybe they can take second spot, but that will also require all the hard work and luck that Simeone and his players can find.
In any case, the Spanish league is slightly better for it, but continues to be the second most boring league in the world.

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