Which LaLiga club should you support?


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Which LaLiga club should you support?

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?

By Streaming on ESPN +
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?

POSSESSION AND CONTROL

If the opponent does not have the ball, he cannot hurt you. These teams will maintain possession of the ball all day, in order to take advantage of the gaps opened by their opponent. Barcelona coined the “tiki-taka” style of short passes, while last season Betis (59.4%) surpassed Madrid (57.8%) in possession percentage.

COUNTERATTACK

You want your team to absorb the opponent’s attacks and catch them on the counter, at the tip of speed and precision in the passes. Bilbao striker Iñaki Williams is one of the fastest players in all of Europe, with a top speed of supposedly 35.7 km / hour, recorded in 2020.

DEFENSIVE

Don’t let your opponent score and then worry about attacking. Although you do need to avoid defeats: Valladolid signed 16 draws and descended last season, after only winning five games.

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.

51.8%

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.

YES: I LOVE A GOOD RIVALRY

The derby of a fiercest city in Spanish football is disputed between Real Betis and Seville on the South coast. One of the hottest cities in Europe does not need to increase the temperature; However, this derby is recognized for its passion, separating families between both sides. Sometimes it can go too far, as when Sevilla coach Juande Ramos was hit by a bottle thrown from the stands in 2007, or when three fans were sentenced to two years in prison after hitting a security guard with a crutch in 2002 The derbies in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia pale in comparison.

NO: RIVALS ARE UNNECESSARY

Either because they do not have enough successes to justify a rivalry against another team, or because they are geographically located far from others, these clubs live a quiet life.

A NOT STRICTLY LOCAL ISSUE

El Clásico between Barcelona and Real Madrid is not a derby in the strict sense of the word (they are geographically far apart); However, as a game, there is nothing greater in club football. The enmity between merengues and culés, typically based on the fight for the Spanish LaLiga title, has reached such a point that it “inspired” the launch of pig heads in 2002 (although the controversial pass of Luis Figo from Barça to Madrid had something to do with it).

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.

90

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.

Superstars everywhere

Barça faces financial difficulties due to its considerable investments over the years, a situation that led to the departure of Lionel Messi. However, they signed Sergio “Kun” Agüero and Memphis Depay. One thing is certain: when you hire a player of the stature of Cristiano Ronaldo for € 100 million, you have him kick the ball inside a stadium packed with bustling fans. The policy of the Galacticos established by Real Madrid in the early 2000s, which motivated the signings of none other than Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo (the Brazilian) and David Beckham, is the definitive example of when a team shoots. checkbook to win.

SMART INVESTMENTS

Occasionally willing to spend big on a top figure, these clubs usually must raise funds by transferring players before they can sign any targets.

FREE TRANSFERS AND ASSIGNMENTS

Resources are scarce in the basement of the table; however, there are still inexpensive options … if you know where to look. For example, Levante signed former Spanish national team Roberto Soldado, who previously played for Real Madrid and Valencia, for around € 500,000 this summer.

NO PLAYERS WHO ARE NOT FROM THE BASQUE COUNTRY

It’s incredible: since 1912, Athletic de Bilbao has operated with a policy that only allows players from a region of northern Spain to be included in their squad. If he was trained in an academy of a Basque club (such as Real Sociedad, Alavés, Osasuna or Éibar), they would also sign him. And despite this, it remains one of the most successful teams in Spain.

LaLiga clubs have participated in nine of the 11 costliest transfer operations of all time.

€ 222M

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.

YES: LATIN AMERICANS ARE KEY PIECES

YES: Barcelona has just signed Sergio Agüero. For its part, Atlético de Madrid is led in the lead by the Uruguayan Luis Suárez, while Real Madrid has the Uruguayan Federico Valverde. Sevilla’s chips Lucas Ocampo and Alejandro “Papu” Gómez certainly have star status, as do Óscar Trejo of Rayo Vallecano and Maxi Gómez of Valencia. Real Betis has the Mexicans Andrés Guardado and Diego Lainez.

NO: I DO NOT GET THE SAME

These teams have not sought their great figures among Latin American footballers.

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).

935

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.

WEFT TURNS AND POWER FIGHTS

These superclubs fight as many battles off the pitch as they do on it. But they won’t want to miss a single episode.

WITH MODERATION

Occasionally, there will be a dramatic situation, but you can be pretty sure that the protagonists will do well.

NO DRAMA PLEASE

They know what to expect, week after week.

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.

$ 4,760M

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


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