Sunday, March 18, 2012

Best league debate

Full Disclosure (If needed): I am a Real Madrid supporter and a huge fan of the Spanish league

I usually do not get dragged into the best league debate and believe in the "each-league-has-its-own-charm-and-is-beautiful-in-its-own-way" argument. But being an English speaking fan of the league, its tough to keep quite when so much crap is said/written all the time. 

Latest from a certain, G. Neville :

Lets get straight in and analyse the article:
  1. Best teams in the world - He accepts that Barcelona (for some time) and Madrid (now) are the best teams in the world .. So lets move on
  2. Attendance and Foreign TV rights: Lets assume the figures are right .. But, since when did money determine the best league? Even if you are to go by them, Bundesliga would be the best league in the world, right? Bernabeu can fill 75,000+, but its the fans of Bilbao (like against United), that makes the league proud.. Even in Madrid, (As Mourinho himself eluded to) atmosphere at Rayo Vallecano was absolutely brilliant (around 20,000 i think) and many times better than Real Madrid. So it is not only about quantity there, Mr. Neville.
  3. UEFA Co-efficient (Eng -1 | Spa -2): This comes down to the strength of the top 4 teams. I agree that from 2005-08, EPL was the best league, but their squads have been on the decline for quite some time and they no longer are the best .. Barcelona and Real Madrid are. In Spain now, Valencia are a very good team, Malaga can spend and are recently seen, 7th place Bilbao thoroughly outplayed mighty United. Twice. Co-eff. change .. And they will change very soon.
  4. 7 Finalists vs. 4: Very convenient Mr. Neville. .. Lets go one step further - 2 Winners vs. 4. End of matter.
  5. Title Race? two horse in both countries. Better quality in Spain. And you often talk about bullying lower teams - United and City have more points per game compared to Barca this season. Only Madrid are better, as they have been largely injury free and have had a better fixture list. One slip-up and Barca will be back
  6. CL fight: 3 teams in England vs. 6 teams in Spain
  7. Relegation : Bottom 5 in EPL are an absolute and total disgrace. Only 20th place Zaragoza are out, with rest of the clubs competing well to stay in the league. 
I do accept that remote controls and game-downloads point to EPL being more watched league. But you tell me what use is a remote, when a Real Madrid match played to suit Asian timings is not telecast here in India because of a Mickey Mouse Cup game? (Some people refer to that as Carling cup) .. The statistics mean just that - EPL is the 'most watched league', no way the 'best league'. 

Having said that two things the Spanish league needs to address urgently are the television rights situation and on ways to market the league better across the world. 

Bottom line - Look at the records of Spanish and English teams in the Uefa Cup to judge whose second tier is the best! I think Gary Neville has conveniently written this article now before the much anticipated El Clasico finals becomes a reality!

Blog Update:

Real Zaragoza finished the season winning 5 out of their last 6 and miraculously surviving on the last day despite being in and out of administration .. There you go, what do I know about football.

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