Will La Liga have a resurgence in Europe in the face of Premier League march?

Once the World Cup slowly gives way into the Christmas period, football fans will suddenly be rushed back into club action. The condensed calendar means that there will be little grace period for anyone in the industry. Before long, the Champions League will be back. 

The last 12 months of Champions League action in Spain have had two contradictory narratives running parallel. Last season saw Barcelona drop into the Europa League for the first time since the early 2000s. This year they made it two in a row, while only one Spanish side made it through to the knockout stages. In the context of a widening financial gap between La Liga and the ever more glamorous Premier League matches, it has fomented concerns that the gap between the two is not only widening, but will soon reach unbridgeable levels. 

Simultaneously, La Liga is home to the Champions of Europe. Real Madrid’s incredible run to the title was remarkable for the fashion, but also the opposition. On the way to the title, they knocked out some of the toughest opposition in the competition; a Paris Saint-Germain side with containing arguably the best player ever and the best player in the world, the reigning champions of Europe at that point in Chelsea, a historically good Manchester City side, and a Liverpool team that have as good a record in Europe as anyone but Los Blancos over the last five years. 

Will La Liga be able to respond? As tends to be the case with grandiose debates, the answer probably lies somewhere towards the middle. Atletico Madrid find themselves at a low ebb in the Diego Simeone era and are currently underperforming their resources. Whether it be under him or someone else, the chances are they will regress to their mean over the next two seasons. 

Meanwhile Barcelona are coming off the back of almost a decade of historic mismanagement, which kneecapped the club financially and on the pitch. The last 12 months have seen the beginning of a recovery on the pitch, but it will take time for them to regain their standing, confidence and put out a quality team again. 

Yet the continued insistence of the big two in the Superleague is a surefire sign that both are conscious of the threat of the Premier League. That competition was a way to even out the finances across Europe for the elite clubs in several countries, but also cap the income of the English clubs somewhat. Whether they find a way to either ramp up the Superleague or come up with another scheme to do so, remains to be seen. 

Below those three major forces, most of La Liga is operating effectively and efficiently, even with much thinner resources. The success of Villarreal is evidence of that. Overall, the short-term can expect to see closing of the perceived gap between the Premier League and Spain’s top sides below Real Madrid. In the long-term, if nothing changes, Spanish football may be forced to accept the Premier League as top dogs.

La Liga - Club News