In the away match between Spain and England, La Liga seem to be in deep trouble against the Premier League.
For the first time in 24 years, only one Spanish club, Real Madrid, will play in the knockout stages of the Champions League, a rout for La Liga which now seems to be lagging behind, both sportingly and economically, from its great English rival.
With two confrontations against British clubs, the 6th and last day of the group stage takes pleasure in putting Spanish football up against its pet peeve and its current limits.
If Real Madrid, which receives Celtic Glasgow on Wednesday, is already guaranteed to finish in one of the first two places in group F, Sevilla, opposed to Manchester City the same evening, has lost all hope of reaching the 8th finals.
Barça will console themselves with the direct accession dams to the Europa League, just like Atlético Madrid if Antoine Griezmann and his teammates win Tuesday in Porto, or if they take advantage of a misstep from Leverkusen against Bruges.
The last time that only a La Liga club had reached the group stage was in 1998-1999: at that time, when the C1 brought together 24 teams, Barça and Athletic Bilbao had remained at the dock, while Real Madrid were then eliminated in the quarter-finals by Dynamo kyiv.
“Disaster of the century? »
This season, the record of Spanish clubs has not gone unnoticed.
“The disaster of the century for Spanish football?“, even wondered the generalist daily El Mundo.
“Coincidence or serious problem? In recent years, Spanish football has been swimming in doubt. Sporting doubt and economic doubt. Are his clubs at a lower level compared to ten years ago? Is the Premier League’s monetary dominance momentary, or will it last a long time? Part of the answer, we got it on Wednesday evening“After the matches of the 5th day, noticed El Mundo.
This assessment will have economic consequences – with a widening of the receipts between Spanish clubs with up to 11 M EUR for Real Madrid under the “market pool» UEFA–, but also sporting: in the UEFA index, the gap between Spain, 2nd, and Germany, 3rd, is narrowing.
“If it happens to us five years in a row…“, sighed last week Javier Tebas, the sulphurous boss of LaLiga, without being able to finish his sentence. “There is no need to be alarmed. It’s a disappointment, not a disaster“, he relativized.
FC Barcelona coach Xavi agrees:Each group is different, each elimination must be analyzed separately. Juve are also out… So no, I don’t think there is a problem with Spanish football“, he insisted.
“We cannot say that the level of La Liga has dropped. I still think La Liga is at Premier League level“added the Catalan technician.
“We missed something”
His former national team-mate, Xabi Alonso, now at the helm of Bayer Leverkusen, is more circumspect.
“The prestige of Spanish football in Europe is enormous, but the growth is very rapid in other countries. Not only in the Premier League, but also in France, Italy, Germany (…) The fact that only one in four clubs progress to the round of 16 shows that the competition is very strong and that we have missed something“, Pointed the Basque technician.
For the Spanish leaders, the responsible is all found, the English Premier League which has placed clubs in the final in four of the last five editions of the C1. Two of his four finals were even 100% English, the other two were lost by the English against … Real.
“We have to correct what is happening in the Premier League, because the market is becoming a bubble and is becoming unsustainable. There is no more economic control. This is a subject that we will put on the table of UEFA“Tebas had warned in September.
But the Spanish championship must consider a threat that comes beyond England alone: the German Bundesliga could thus have four teams in the round of 16 this season, the Italian Serie A and the Portuguese Primeira Liga three each. That’s two more than… La Liga.