Spain and Scotland: Two Leagues in jeopardy

At the risk of sounding a terribly stuck-up know-it-all it is rare I come across something in football where the statistics genuinely shock me.

At the risk of sounding a terribly stuck-up know-it-all it is rare I come across something in football where the statistics genuinely shock me. However, I read an article a few days ago that shed some light on an issue we all know is there but somehow we tend to look over.

Spanish football is beautiful. Fact. However, should we rephrase this to Real Madrid and Barcelona are beautiful? They are the two outstanding club sides in world football and they also happen to be in the same league, giving the rest of the league no chance at all. Should we blame the big two? Of course not. They have the finances, the backing, and fan base that has come from winning so many trophies but what of the other sides? The last time a team other than Real or Barca won La Liga was Valencia in 2004. You may think “only seven years” (don’t forget Sevilla came close a few years later) but although it may only be seven years a better question would be, when will be the next time that neither Barca or Real win the league. A long time. Valencia finished third in La Liga in 2010-11 but were closer to being relegated than winning the title. A ludicrous statistic that emphasises what a gulf there is. Such is the other sides despondency the mantra ‘esta no es nuestra liga’ has been adopted by many senior figures in spanish football. ‘This is not our league’.

I watched Levante beat Real Madrid 1-0 earlier this season and the scenes were incredible. You would have thought Levante had won the Copa Del Rey but it was, never the less, the biggest result in the club’s history. This game also showed what effect such an unexpected result can have on the bigger side. Real lost their cool, Sami Khedira getting sent off, and many melee’s ensued in which Sergio Ramos once again showed himself in a less than favourable light. The pressure on the big sides to win every game is immense. A draw is no longer good enough. Real didn’t win the league last year but still clocked up 99 points. Phenomenal.

Scottish football has been about Celtic and Rangers for as long as I have known. The league was described by the Zaragoza President as the ‘most boring in Europe’ but at least Hearts and recently Motherwell have been showing they are capable of challenging the monotony that is associated with the SPL.

A recent decision by Spanish teams in regards to domestic TV rights has left those in charge of the nearly teams, Valencia and Athletico Madrid, furious. They will only take 11% of the money whilst Real and Barca will get 35% of the cash with the rest distributed to the other sides. By signing this proposed contract the Espanyol director Joan Collet said it showed how the chasing sides can’t compete and have admitted so in this statement. They haven’t fought for their rights just as they can’t fight for the La Liga title.

I will conclude with some stats that are utterly jaw dropping (well I think so anyway).

Real Madrid and Barcelona earn €125 million each in annual domestic TV rights. Manchester United earn a third of that total.

In a game last season that didn’t involve the big two, 47 pay-per-view customers paid to watch it in total. 47.

Barcelona’s second most common result is 5-0.

Cristiano Ronaldo alone outscored 5 teams last season. He scored one fewer than 3 other teams.