Many of the younger generation of football fans have drooled over the star-studded enterprise that was La Liga for the best part of the last two decades. However, with the departure of multiple megastars over the last few years, the Spanish league has undoubtedly lost its unique appeal and fans have, of course, taken their attention elsewhere.
The biggest name of them all, Lionel Messi, is the prime departee from the Spanish first division, having recently signed a two-year contract with French giants Paris Saint-Germain. For the first time in 18 years, FC Barcelona will start a new season without the Argentinian forward in their squad. Though his departure did not come as much of a surprise to the football world, it still seems weird seeing Lionel Messi in another jersey but the distinctive red and blue of Blaugrana. Messi leaving Barcelona wasn’t the only problem La Liga president Javier Tebas was faced with this summer. Stars such as Sergio Ramos, who also ventured to PSG, and Raphael Varane, who signed a four-year contract with Manchester United, also left the Spanish Primera, leaving the league with not many notable names to attract its usual attention.
All these departures came after a certain Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018, signaling what many claimed was the beginning of the end of an era. It does seem feasible to then claim that La Liga is no longer the league where many football players aspire to go to. Due to many issues pertaining to financial losses, contractual disputes and more lucrative options elsewhere, many players have opted to either leave or have decided to bypass La Liga altogether. The argument for which league can now claim to be the best, the pendulum has now swung towards the English Premier League, which has seen many big name signings over the past few seasons. In a report published by Sport Index, it was revealed that the English Premier League boasts an average of 4 billion viewers per season while La Liga only musters around 2.8 billion viewers. The intensity and rivalry for the top spots in England have long enticed billions of viewers from all over the world but to add the biggest stars in football into that mix has seen them surpass La Liga as not only the league to watch, but the league to play in. World Cup winner and new Man United signing, Raphael Varane, stated himself that the move was too good of an offer to refuse, “Manchester United is one of the most iconic clubs in world football and the chance to come here and play in the Premier League is something I couldn’t turn down.” The Premier league now sits in pole position to enjoy complete domination of the football world for many years to come, with not only the money to offer, but the competition to go with it as well. The quality of the league has even been highlighted in the last few UEFA Champions League campaigns, with 4 Premier League teams featuring in the last four UCL finals. Last season saw both Chelsea and Manchester City facing off against each other.
If La Liga is able to restructure financially and focus more on long term development, the opportunity for them to venture back into the top spot as the best league in the world is foreseeable. However, for now, Tebas and the rest of the league will have to watch the Premier League enjoy the level of attention it has spent several years trying to claim.