The Spanish LaLiga season will kick off on August 13, with live broadcasts on ESPN + in the United States and Star + in South America. LaLiga is one of the largest in the football world, and ESPN presents information about the 20 teams that make it up, classified according to merely football characteristics and other less scientific ones. Which team should you support this season?
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The unforgettable moments, the greatest figures and the best DTs of LaLiga
How do you like them to play soccer? Do you like to see footballers passing the ball from one side to the other to wear down the rival before taking advantage of any open gap? Or, should they fall back and counter when they get a chance? Maybe play tied up, park a bus in front of the area and aim to scratch a 1-0 win if that ensures results?
Diego “Cholo” Simeone’s Atlético de Madrid won the title by being strong, courageous and unafraid of fouling. In fact, they tolerated the fewest goals against (25) and added 100 yellow cards last season (third in this category, behind Celta de Vigo’s 104 and Getafe’s 114), although they were also second in goals. (67) and shots on goal (186) behind Barcelona. Atleti’s defensive style is not to everyone’s taste, but it works. Barcelona’s tactical philosophy, based on possession, is pleasing to the eye; However, if you concede more goals against than the team that finished seventh (Sevilla), it is a sign that something is wrong.
Percentage of possession of Atlético de Madrid, LaLiga champion in 2020-21, eighth best record in the category. Barcelona was the best in this line, with 62.4%.
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Backyard rivalries are the essence of many soccer fans, who need to have a nearby club to hate. The COVID-19 pandemic took away from us the visual of crowded and thunderous stadiums during the previous campaign. It could be a matter of geography or even title rivalry, but Spanish teams have plenty of action-packed derbies.
There’s nothing like a Spanish derby to get the blood racing through your veins. Beyond the First Division, we can find some regional derbies, including the “Asturian Derbi” between Real Oviedo and Sporting de Gijón; the battle of the South of Madrid between Getafe and Leganés, while the “Galician Derbi” between Celta de Vigo and Deportivo La Coruña was great in other times, before Depor (LaLiga champion in 2000) began their descent to third division.
Number of titles won since the constitution of LaLiga in 1929. Real Madrid has 34, Barcelona has 26 in its record; and Atlético de Madrid, champion of the previous tournament, has 11 in their showcase. Only three clubs have been part of LaLiga since its inception: Barcelona, Real Madrid and Athletic de Bilbao.
Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atleti operate on a different planet from the rest of the LaLiga clubs. According to the Transfermarkt website, Barça invested close to € 1,050 million in the passes of new players during the last five years, while Real Madrid had € 672 million and Atlético € 674 million. However, all these teams have significant debts: Barça has liabilities of € 1,200 million, Madrid of € 901 million and Atleti has liabilities close to € 870 million, according to financial reports published last October.
LaLiga clubs have participated in nine of the 11 costliest transfer operations of all time.
World record in termination clauses, paid by PSG of France to Barcelona to sign Brazilian striker Neymar in 2017. The highest amount paid by a Spanish club to sign a player was when Barcelona added the Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho to its squad , paying € 160 million to Liverpool in 2018.
Latin American footballers have a long history of success in the Spanish LaLiga; although football greats such as Diego Armando Maradona (Argentina), Hugo Sánchez (Mexico) and Alfredo Di Stefano (Argentina / Colombia / Spain) are also included. The region has contributed some of the best to ever play the sport. Currently, the relationship between Spain and Latin American footballers is stronger than ever. Sharing language and culture facilitates the transition for those who want to start a new life in LaLiga. Your options are extremely remarkable if this matters a lot to you.
In its 2020-21 season, LaLiga de España had 197 foreign players, out of a total of 525. Argentina had the highest representation with 32, followed by France (24). Brazil was third with 22, followed by Portugal (18) and Uruguay (17). Other Latin American countries also had participants in the Iberian circuit: Colombia (8), Mexico (4), Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Chile (2 each).
Total number of goals scored by Messi, Sánchez and Di Stéfano in LaLiga de España. The trio of Latin Americans are first, fourth and sixth in the historical record of scorers, respectively; while Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo (2nd) and Spaniards Telmo Zarra (3rd) and Raúl González (5th) are also among the greatest scorers in history.
Some people enjoy living on the edge, not knowing what will happen next. Others prefer a quiet and comfortable life, free from surprises. In LaLiga, club presidents such as Madrid’s Florentino Pérez and Barcelona’s Joan Laporta are fond of turning their clubs into political dramas, full of internal fights, leaks and public disputes: just look at the recent crisis over the Super League. European if you need an example of it.
When you have to deal with the world’s biggest footballers, you can never be too far from the drama: be it with headlines relating to a contentious contract negotiation or tentative pass, or the reaction after being substituted in a match, the great clubs of LaLiga are full of gruesome plots. However, the real drama takes place in the boardrooms. Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have had trouble washing their dirty laundry out of the public eye in recent years (with court cases, tax problems and wholesale conspiracy theories); while Valencia is governed by a businessman who runs his club like a business and football fans do not like that very much.
Estimated valuation of FC Barcelona, the most valuable club in the world according to a study published by Forbes magazine in April 2021. Real Madrid came in a close second place, valued at $ 4.75 billion, although these figures are considerably higher than the club’s estimate. They are followed in Spain: Atlético de Madrid, valued at $ 1,000 million and owner of position 13.
Report by Jonathan Molyneux-Carter, Eduardo Fernández-Abascal. Edited by James Martin.
Produced by ESPN Creative Studio: Rob Booth, Jarret Gabel, Lori Higginbotham, Jason Potterton, Rami Moghadam, Munehito Sawada.
Illustrations by Freak City