Long Live La Liga!! La Liga is dead

For a Real Madrid fan this has been a great season. 100 points, La Liga regained, Cristiano regaining respect and so many other things. Even for a Barcelona fan this is not a catastrophic season, even if they ended up being ‘trophyless’ and finished behind Los Blancos in La Liga.

It might seem great when all the teams in world shudder and tremble at the prospect of meeting these two Spanish La Liga giants. Make no mistake, Real Madrid and Barcelona have laid down the gauntlet for the rest of the European clubs. In 90% of the cases, any superstar transfer target has an ambition to play for one of the two. They ride roughshod over any team and if they want their man, they get him irrespective of the stature of the club in question. Classic examples being Alonso, Ronaldo, Benzema, Villa, Mascherano and Fabregas who were cherry picked from United, Arsenal, Lyon and Liverpool and added to the sheen of La Liga.

La Liga

La Liga

La Liga: A dying wounded bull?

La Liga

Yet in their quest for world domination, Madrid and Barcelona have damaged La Liga irreparably. And this damage will continue till there is nothing left. The latest examples being the failed La Liga campaigns of Villarreal and Valencia.

Villarreal

There are several romantic stories in La Liga, but this is not one of them.

Villarreal were always supposed to be too good to go down from La Liga. After all they had Rossi, Nilmar, Senna and company. Despite losing Santi Cazorla to Malaga, they were never really regarded in any danger of going down. Sadly, Rossi missed the entire season due to injury and Nilmar failed to make any impact.

Villarreal lacked the cutting edge in front of the goal. The once proud team that scored goals for fun in La Liga was the 4th lowest scorer in the league with just 39 goals in 38 matches. They failed to win any of their last 6 matches picking just 3 points out of 18. They scored just 5 goals and the 3 losses were by 1 goal each in these 6 games. Their highest goal scorer was Marco Ruben with 9 goals and the only player who scored more than 5 goals.

With numbers like these Villarreal were always going to be in danger of going down. Yet, they could have easily saved themselves had they gotten themselves a half decent striker who could take 50 % of chances that were created. Yet they couldnai??i??t, because they had no money.

Hamstrung by debts, running on shoestring budgets, delayed payments of salaries and exporting their players year on year to other clubs in premier league and big two, La Liga clubs are a sorry lot.

La Liga

La Liga

Fernando Roig: Out of La Liga and a bleak future

La Liga

Ironically, Villarreal is a club that plays by the rules. They donai??i??t owe any money to the taxman and they donai??i??t have any external debt so as to speak of. Atletico Madrid have debts running up to ai??i??350 m.

Villarreal were running on a budget of ai??i??70m last year. This is the state of a club which finished 4th in La Liga 2011 and reached Europa league semi-finals. Just imagine their budget if they were not in Europa League.

While the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bilbao have huge lines of credit due to nationalistic identities, the other clubs have to survive like beggars on the leftover scraps of the big two.

Sevilla had to sell their crown jewels like Dani Alves, Sergio Ramos, Baptista, Keita and who knows who else. They somehow have managed to stay afloat. At one time Kanoute and Fabiano were a feared pair of strikers. With their powers waning there is no replacement and Sevilla might end up closer to relegation zone of La Liga next than anyone may imagine.

Villarreal had to sell Riquelme, Forlan and ultimately Cazorla. They couldnai??i??t find a replacement for Senna. Eventually all things came together and Villarreal went down.

La Liga

Falcao: lighting up La Liga and Europa League

Falcao: lighting up La Liga and Europa League

Villarreal

Imagine if they had a little bit of cash to throw about and if they could purchase a striker like Papis Cisse the way Newcastle could. How valuable those 5 extra goals in 4 games could have proved! Maybe the difference between La Liga and Liga Adelante. Or maybe a young loan signing like Canales or Wilshere who could have provided that spark of creativity so sorely lacking in the middle of the park.

Valencia

Valencia officially became the ‘worst’ 3rdside in the history of La Liga. They had the lowest total for a third place finishing team. Yet, after selling Silva, Villa and Mata, it is incredible that they managed to finish above Malaga in Spanish La Liga.

Riddled with a mammoth debt due to their new stadium, unable to buy any decent players and offer adequate salaries, it is a credit to the team and manager that they still managed a very creditable Europa League campaign where they lost to the eventual winners AtleticoAi?? in the semifinals. Though they finished 3rd by margin, their La Liga campaign was not as bad as it seems to be.

Can a manager or a team do anymore? Atletico and Bilbao had much more talented squads and/or bigger budgets at their disposal. Yet they finished much lower than Valencia for a very similar campaign in La Liga.

Valencia

Valencia

3rd in La Liga and Europa Semis: Not good Enough?

Valencia

Valencia couldnai??i??t afford to splash out ai??i??40m for a striker like Falcao who scored 30 odd goals in his debut season in La Liga for Atletico. Again this is the state of a club which has been regularly in Europe for the past several years and has regularly been in the top 5 of La Liga.

La Liga : Over and out?

This year La Liga did well despite Real Madrid and Barcelona. Not because of them. Today, the German league has no value, in words of German champions Dortmundai??i??s coach Jurgen Klopp. He feared losing Kagawa to United and eventually lost him. Just FYI, United were trophyless this season and Dortmund had just completed a historic double.

Soon, there will be no value for La Liga too. Because Bilbao and Atletico will lose their glamour stars too and further impoverish the league.

Silva, Mata, Villa, Baptista, Ramos, Alves, Keita, Riquelme, Forlan, Cazorla, Aguero. Soon they will be joined by Rossi, Nilmar, Borja Valero and Diego Lopez. From Bilbao, Javi Martinez, Iker Munian, Llorente and Ander Herrera might be lost.

Villarrealai??i??s president Fernando Roig took Villarreal from nothing and turned them into a well-liked, top European club. Roig had earlier confirmed that Villarreal, even if they did retain their status as a La Liga club, would need to sell each summer to balance the books.

S. No.NameFrom ToCash Earned (in mil ai??i??)

1

SergioAi?? AgueroAtleticoManchester City

44

2

TorresAtleticoLiverpoolAi?? Ai?? Ai?? Ai?? Ai?? Ai?? Ai?? Ai?? Ai?? Ai?? Ai?? 25 + Garcia

3

ForlanAtleticoInter

5

4

BaptistaSevillaReal

25

5

RamosSevillaReal

30

6

AlvesSevillaBarcelona

40

7

KeitaSevillaBarcelona

14

8

VillaValenciaBarcelona

40

9

MataValenciaChelsea

30

10

SilvaValenciaManchester City

32

11

AlbiolValenciaReal

15

12

CazorlaVillarrealMalaga

25

Losses after Losses and the dreaded transfer window

Losses for the clubs are mounting. Not just in terms of money but also in terms of personnel. The above 12 are some of the highest profile losses in La Liga with countless others in smaller denominations.

La Liga clubs have to sell players to keep afloat

Real Madrid and Barcelona have killed the spirit in La Liga. Sevilla, Valencia and Villarreal are now completely broken. Athletic and Atletico maybe en-route. How long can they keep up is something that nobody can tell. World domination is all fine. When EPL is flush with sugar daddies and their babies like Chelsea and City who can purchase the title, the rules need to be broken.

But this need not necessarily mean that La Liga needs to be killed.

Primarily because of climate and cultural issues, Spanish and South Americans prefer to stay in Spain even when EPL comes calling. But if the salary difference is too much and Champions League beckons, the allure may prove too much to resist.

La Liga clubs have a very good youth system and excellent scouts. What they need is some cash injection to hold on their players when ai???foreignai??? teams come calling. It is sure that they will lose their players to Real Madrid and Barcelona whenever these big two come calling. But, why lose players to teams like Chelsea and City. Even the current Manchester United are not the United of old; with swagger in their steps and a cocky air about them.

Because when it comes to titles La Liga teams can give any team a run for their money with a bit of support. A small help will go a very long way towards helping the state of affairs in La Liga. Otherwise Villarreal will be the first of many casualties before the death of La Liga.

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7 Responses to “La Liga Killed: How Real Madrid and Barcelona Doomed Villarreal And Valencia”

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  1. aditya ray says:

    the direction of the article is write, but we need to know better how EXACTLY Barcelona and Real have killed other clubs???

    apart from the TV rights argument and debt management issues what do we have… I doubt whether that is THE reason for the demise of other clubs. There is no mention of the ‘time line’ of the apparent ‘rise and fall’ of the many clubs.

    Please elaborate more on the political economy of football and whether the eco. crisis has anything to do with it.

    Except for the catch headline…. there isn’t much masala to it really

  2. gavin says:

    The article sets out to make a point and isn’t balanced.

    Villarreal have never really been a force in La Liga, they have never won it. They have a small stadium and can’t generate much money. They went down because La Liga is actually quite competitive.

    Valencia’s debt is due to the property crisis. They were building a new state of the art 75,000 seater stadia and then the land they were going to sell to pay for it halved in value. Valencia have only won La Liga 6 times. They have not recently been picked on by Real Madrid or Barcelona. They only win la Liga around every 15 years on average. I am sure in the next 15 years they will win La Liga again as will at least 1 other side like Atletico

    Until Valencia are in their new stadia their ambitions are on hold, however, that move is now only 2 years away and most of the debt will be gone thanks to a deal with their bank. Then the side that is being built that will include some of Spain’s best youngsters like Paco Alcácer will be a major force.

    Manchester United have dominated the Premiership more in the last 20 years than either Real or Barcelona. Only Roman’s money made that League competitive and now Man C have money too. La Liga does not need oil and gas money to survive so don’t feel sorry for it.

    • It is not about being a force or not. Tottenham are the prime examples. Although their stadium is bigger than Villarreal’s 25000 odd seater, it is still not that small to not to survive. TV money is the biggest revenue generator which leads to better deals in other areas also.
      Barca and Real have currently corner 50% of total TV revenue. Even in the new deal, they will corner 35% or the total with 15 other teams getting just 45% of the total.
      Fair you say???
      No team in Spain can mount a challenge like Spurs.
      Valencia have lost Alba, Villa (Barca), Silva (City), Albiol (real), and mata (chelsea)
      What if they had retained even 2 of the above?
      Yes, they were unfortunate about the stadium and it was pure bad timing. But they needed that to break the duopoly as they were getting nothing from TV.
      The bigger stadium would have helped. But Sub-prrime put an end to that.

      EPL is much worse than La Liga, There is no doubt about that. But it is not about reveling in other misery but cleaning up your own act

  3. aditya ray says:

    Now thats more like a point there Gavin….something that had me listening.
    I think I just landed up here expecting to read a trash article, which I did.

    Club football is very commercialized in Europe and is extremely entwined with the market. So ofcourse you need good sport but also good business acumen to stay afloat. Infact the criticism is you don’t need much business acumen too if you are owned by oil and gas barons.

    In any case, my point is, if we go by the authors argument (which is no argument at all) to its length then it is actually England (EPL) (and lately China) that is responsible for killing clubs in other countries. How??? by buying all the good players??? Is this argument even any good in today’s highly commercialized context?

    In any case Gavin has already pointed out to some of the reasons why some of the stated clubs of la liga are suffering and why they are no less or no more in danger than say any other mid level or bottom level team in England.

    However, I would like to also point out how open UK is, both economically, legally and culturally when it comes to ownership rights. So top clubs can be ‘owned’ by rich industrialist of, mostly of foreign descent with money to splurge and when that starts to happen you have more and more of other rich industrialists joining in to invest in this big ‘business’ opportunity, thereby making the league more competitive, if not by creativity then by money. The ownership structures in spanish clubs like Real Barca and Bilbao, are much different with the ‘socio’ system of ownership, giving them what the author describe as the nationalistic status but also more stability and more answerability to fans.

  4. Mcwin Vaz says:

    Nice read…… I am no expert….. just wanted your opinion on how much does a departure of one player affect the team and its whole season……. i.e Yap Stam being removed by Ferguson……after he released his book…. Makele being sold by Madrid because….. he was not considered a galatico… Xabi alonso … unsettled by benitez… Requelme fell out with Pellagrini…… off he went to Boco juniors.. and more recent … Pirlo leaving Milan for Juve

    When Stam left… Man u started leaking in goals… Makele was the rock that let the galaticos have their fun.. Alonso was the pass master Gerrad and Torres loved….. and finally Requelme and Pirlo were heart beat of their team…… how can one survive without a heart beat…

    My point is some players are such a important part of the team…… that the system they play can’t function without them…… and once they leave… the teams keep playing the same system … which leads to their demise…..

    • You yourself have answered the doubt. United without scholes/giggs etc.
      if the teams can find a similar player, even if at a much lower level, things maybe smoothened. real didn;t find and they paid badly.
      United bought other players and hence they did not do so badly.
      Villarreal still have not been able to replace Cazorla and they missed Rossi badly. They could not sign a striker even when they knew about the lenght of Rossi’s injury.
      A half decent striker would have saved a remarkable club. I am very sad for Villarreal.