You've probably heard this question before, especially in recent weeks. Accusations regarding exactly who has been killing Spanish football have been widespread and ever increasing. First, Pique pointed a finger at Mourinho. Now, fingers are being pointed at Real Madrid and Barcelona after the first round of La Liga fixtures. And these arguments are gaining speed.
When Villarreal’s President Fernando Roig addressed the media following his side’s 5-0 humiliation at the Camp Nou, he stressed that action must be taken or we would see the death of La Liga:
"If you want the league to have only two matches, then there will only be two matches, but this is not good for football. I give it three to four years. Either this changes or we kill Spanish football.”
"La Liga is a competition of the highest level, but there exists a big difference between the two top teams and the rest. I fear that this difference could lead to a decreasing interest in the game and this could be a serious problem for everyone," Llorente said to AS.
"I am pretty sure that we will soon have the same debate in Europe as well. The Champions League will soon become a 'Scottish league.' I don't think that people in Europe will accept a Champions League with such huge disparity."
And today, Sevilla’s President Jose Maria del Nido spoke out against the same issue:
"Are there any fans not saying that the league is prostituted, adulterated, corrupted? Our tournament is not just the biggest joke in Europe, but in the world. It is a third-world league in which two clubs take the others' television money."
Obviously this is becoming a big problem so we seek to address it here:
Are Real Madrid and Barcelona actually killing Spanish football?As I’m sure you already know, Real Madrid and Barcelona have dominated this competition historically; however, presently, the gap is growing ever wider. Last season the gap between second and third place was 21 points. This year, Real and Barca look much stronger. Need I say more?
Another glaring issue is the economic disadvantages the other teams have versus the “Big Two." It’s true that money can’t buy you happiness, but it sure can buy immense talent. So while Barcelona and Real Madrid boast names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Mesut Ozil and Xavi Hernandes, smaller clubs are forced to let go of their star players in order to battle their increasing debt .
Against these odds, it seems that La Liga is destined to be a two-horse thriller yet again. And this doesn’t look like changing any time soon.
So what can be done about it? A solution that would make any long-term difference must be drastic. This trend won’t just dissipate with one or two tweaks. Remodeling the television system to something similar to the one they have in place in England is probably the premier option. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to see the league taking any action soon.
Now before we all prepare our mourning clothes for the seemingly imminent death of Spanish football we need to look at one more thing.
Let’s backtrack a bit to the original question: Are Real Madrid and Barcelona killing SPANISH football?
Well if you sit back and look at the entire picture one argument is… not really.
Before you start flooding the comments box (which I invite you to do later) consider this: two extremely skilled teams playing with entirely different philosophies coached by two of the best coaches ever, played out by some of the best footballers of the decade, threatening to win the most prestigious titles on the European stage. Not to mention the Spanish national team’s glory on the global stage.
Seems like Spanish football is actually alive and kicking.
So Real and Barca may not be killing Spanish football in a certain sense. It’s all a matter of perspective.
The League however, is an entirely different story.