Primera Liga is the First Division of Spain’s Liga de Futbol Profesional or Professional Football League and is also known as the Liga BBVA after the bank that sponsors it. It’s one of the most glamorous and competitive leagues in the world and the crowning glory of football in Spain.
Founded in 1928, La Liga de Futbol Profesional actually consists of two divisions – Primera and Segunda, known as La Liga Adelante, but when people talk of La Liga, they are generally referring to just the First Division.
Having won 31 and 19 Liga titles respectively, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are undoubtedly the dominant forces of Spanish football and are particularly bitter rivals. Beating the old enemy is as important as winning a title or a trophy in Spain, so given FC Barcelona’s recent successes daggers will definitely be drawn in 2009-10.
Barca completed the most successful season in the history of Spanish football in 2009 by winning La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League in 2009. And they did it by playing what was widely considered to be the most adventurous and entertaining football in the world.
Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol and, of course, Josep Guardiola are just a few of the names behind this fantastic side, which prides itself in being led by local Catalan players. What’s more the signing of Swedish goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Inter Milan will add strength and variation to an already fearsome attack.
Under new president Florentino Perez, Real Madrid have responded by bring out the checkbook and after spending more than 300 million euro, glamour is back at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in the shape of the New Galacticos. The superstar signings of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Benzema and Xabi Alonso alongside Madrid veterans such as Raul and Casillas, guarantee a real battle for glory in 2009-10.
Amongst the other top teams are Sevilla FC and Atletico de Madrid, who are both representing Spain in the UEFA Champions League this season and modest Villarreal and a talented but unpredictable Valencia CF, who are playing in the Europa League along with Athletic Club Bilbao – a reawakened giant back at the top after a long period away.
Amongst the other sides there’s always a surprise team, and Malaga, Deportivo or Espanyol could well finish in European places at the end of the season.
However, few people would back any team other than FC Barcelona or Real Madrid for La Liga, and what’s more, with this year’s Champions League Final taking place in the Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid will be especially keen to stop the reigning champions raising the cup again.
This year more than ever, La Liga is down to two sides – Barcelona and Madrid.
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