Luis Enrique’s Getafe pre-match press Conference took a refreshing turn as he gushed over Leicester City’s current exploits. It seems the surprise of their Premier League tilt isn’t localised to England, with the whole of Europe taking notice.
However, Enrique doubts La Liga will ever have a Leicester of their own, who can traverse the League table rising from the bottom to the top in such a short time. And unless things change, he is probably right.
A fairytale story like Leicester’s seldom occurs; hence why their feats will be forever ingrained in football folklore, should they see their title challenge through.
A repeat is unlikely, however those odds would be significantly longer were they in Spain. Is that to La Liga’s detriment? Of course! Watching the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid put smaller sides to the sword with scintillating football is always great. But seeing the larger teams being toppled brings its own kind of entertainment.
In Lucho’s attempts to explain just how a team like Leicester can compete, he made reference to the BPL’s mega TV deal. “We’re talking about Premier League, the League with the biggest TV rights income, that makes possible for new teams to appear,” he noted.
Perhaps it’s not how much money the Premier League has in comparison to La Liga, but rather the way in which it’s spread.
Spanish newspaper AS recently released figures detailing every clubs’ cut of television rights in the top five leagues in Europe. The splits vary by country, but they’re nowhere near as extreme as in Spain.
Despite winning the League, Chelsea (€138m) only earned 38 percent more than Leicester City (€100m) and 53% more than relegated Queens Park Rangers (€90m). The latter is a rather high figure, but the use of the word ‘only’ is apt when compared to how the money is divided up in Spain.
Barcelona by contrast earned €160m, a whopping 1140% more than Eibar’s comparatively-paltry €13.8m. With numbers like that, how are they expected to compete?
There’s more money in the Premier League – that is a fact, but how it’s distributed is far fairer than in Spain.
This is not another Premier League v La Liga argument. Both have their draws, with England’s top tier known for its competitiveness and swashbuckling football, while La Liga boasts the world’s best footballers (two immediately spring to mind).
In fact, it’s not just the Premier League where smaller clubs are mixing it with the bigger clubs. Hertha Berlin are surprisingly third in Germany, while recently-promoted Angers rose as high as second in Ligue 1 by Christmas.
The occasional side in Spain challenges but inevitably tumbles at some point in the season, much like Deportivo La Coruna have this year. The big boys, in the meantime, keep chugging along.
It’s probably for the best if we ignore the top three as La Liga appears far-more competitive lower down the table. The battle for European places is fierce, and the fourth-place team seems to change every year, with Valencia, Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad earning Champions League football in recent seasons.
But all are established teams, so Eibar are perhaps as close as one can get to the Leicester experience. They were all-but-relegated last season, before divine intervention – or rather Elche’s dismal finances – saved them from the drop. They have capitalised on their second chance and currently sit eighth in the League. Will they crack the top three any time soon? Unlikely, perhaps never if things don’t change.
During Enrique’s speech, at no point did the Coach call for any kind of change – and why would he? Less money and greater competition doesn’t exactly sound appealing. Until that mentality goes, the incumbent teams’ perpetual dominance will continue.