The wide open race for La Liga Glory


The Spanish division has long been accused of being a two horse race. For years it was just the Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid battling it out for domestic greatness.

Every now and again other teams would enter the picture and have a degree of success. Yet the stature and financial resources of the top two meant that it was not sustainable. Although Atletico Madrid have since muscled their way into title consideration since they won the league in 2013-14.

However, this season has been different and has made for compelling viewing. Whisper it quietly, but there looks to be change afoot. Seemingly a progressive movement is occurring within Spain. Real and Barca are ever so slightly loosening their grip on the crown.

The Real Madrid stars ruing another defeat to Eibar

This belief was epitomized on September
25th 2018, where both teams lost on the same day in La Liga. The first time that had happened in over three years; Barcelona lost to bottom of the league Leganes, while Madrid were thumped 3-0 to Sevilla.

The following day, newspaper Mundo Deportivo ran with the headline: “Barca Bad, Madrid worse.” The line was perhaps indicative of the whole season for the two clubs.

Undoubtedly, a major factor for the increased competitiveness was Real Madrid’s disastrous start to the campaign. Repeatedly, the Bernabéu was left stunned at watching their Galácticos being humiliated by Spanish minnows with the likes of Alaves, Eibar and Levante taking their scalp.

Just four months into his tenure Los Blancos boss Julen Lopetegui was sacked and replaced by Santiago Solari with the side ninth in table. Since then, the rebuilding process has been a steady one, with Madrid finding themselves in fourth. 

The emergence of the little Basque club Alaves, who made a scintillating start, along with the resurgence of Sevilla, have meant that the title race is firmly open. In one of the most financially disparaging leagues, the division has surprisingly grown to becoming increasingly unpredictable.

Julen Lopetegui watches on as Real suffer defeat

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid have kept their stars, most notably fending off interest from Barca for star striker Antoine Griezmann.

A settled squad, along with a few astute additions, has given Atletico a solid foundation to build upon their success under Diego Simeone and earn their first title in five years. Sitting joint second in the table along with Sevilla, just three points of top, Real’s city rivals are poised to mount a title challenge.

Although possibly becoming complacent as of late, Barcelona are still the favorites to capture La Liga. It would be their 26th title. Paralleled with Real’s success in Europe, Barcelona have had unrivaled dominance domestically. Yet, a few weeks ago reminded us why this season has been such a fascinating spectacle. In what would have been a routine victory last season, the Nou Camp faithful were left stunned at watching their side lose to Real Betis, 4-3. 

Real Betis left the Nou Camp stunned, with Lionel Messi left wondering

Whilst the giants are currently sleeping, the underdogs continue to thrive. With the top half extremely congested, the quest for Spanish triumph is well and truly up for grabs.


About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

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