The time has finally come for us at Brainstain to finally figure out which football league is the best in the world. We’ve already looked at parity and success on the European stage and so far it has been a relatively tight race, with Spain’s La Liga a single point ahead of the Bundesliga, which itself is only half a point ahead of the English Premier League. Flailing at the bottom of all this is the Seria A, which, like its stars such as ‘Gig’ Buffon and Francesco Totti, they were always good enough to warrant world recognition, but could never quite capture (at club level) that final piece of glory to supplement their careers.
Now speaking of Buffon, in this final test, we look at both the overall quality of games played, as well as a simple “which league has the best players? Test! For this test, we look at the 55 man shortlist selected to make up the FIFA FIFPro XI team. Now, there will be some players who overlap in both leagues (like Claudio Bravo) so he’ll count as one vote for both the EPL and La Liga. There are also a number of players who seemingly have no right being on this list (like Claudio Bravo), but unfortunately there’s not much we can do about that.
A couple of things stood out to us in this list. La Liga prominence on this list was always going to be high, but there are more defenders from the Spanish league voted into this shortlist (10) than there were total players from both the Seria A (7) and more surprisingly the Bundesliga (9). What might be the biggest shock of them all is that the EPL had the second most players selected into the shortlist, with 15 (but that’s what happens when Paul Pogba makes the cut).
So for the first part, we’ll award the leagues a score out of 5 for this objective category. La Liga couldn’t earn anything but a perfect 5 here, the EPL come out with a 4, while the Bundesliga finishes with a 2 and Seria A with a 1.5.
Now onto the much more subjective and much less predictable ‘eye test.’ FIFA tells me that there aren’t many quality players in the Bundesliga, but the sheer number of games that are either one goal thrillers or play out to a draw cannot be denied. I’m hardy in the minority in saying that a high paced game with a lot of goals beats a game where each team parks the bus and hopes the other makes a mistake (I’m looking your way Jose Mourinho).
This most recent round not withstanding – only team scored more than a single goal, Bayern Munich with 5 – score lines have generally featured a lot of 2s next to club’s names. So, when you combine the fact that there are hardly any scoreless draws, but teams are seemingly always in the game, it makes the German league a delight to watch. I rate it a solid 3.5/5 which brings the league’s total for this round up to 6 and its total score to 18.5/30.
The La Liga on the other hand might have the best players in the world at its disposal, the wealth is hardly shared as one would come to expect. This creates a few more games where the three points are already decided by the half. You take a look back at recent weeks’ results and you see a fair share of games end 3-0 with an increased sprinkling of 0-0 draws. Is the quality of the match going to be high if Barcelona or Real Madrid get tested? Of course, seeing the underdog prevail is one of the most enjoyable aspects of sport as a whole, but how often does that happen, and how good are games between middle of the table teams like Eibar and Alaves? Not so good. Not even the delight that is MSN or RBB can bring the league’s watchability up enough to score them even higher, here. A score of 2.5, simply because I’m excited to see which Barcelona player dye’s his hair blonde next. This gives the Spanish league a total score of 7.5 here and brings it up to 21.5/30, surpassing the Bundesliga.
Next up, we look at Seria A and the monopoly that is Juventus. Despite the demise of the Milan’s in recent years, I don’t think the quality of the league as a whole has suffered, thanks in part to storylines such as the aforementioned Buffon and Totti who are not only battling it out for a title, but are seemingly battling the Grim Reaper…and also winning might I add. Storylines such as theirs absolutely boost a game’s watchability.
When will Totti come on? Will Totti make an impact, when he does? “OH MY GOD! TOTTI IS A GOD!” is a sequence that seemingly plays out on a weekly basis. You look at the score lines and they’re on a similar level to that of the Bundesliga, not a lot of scoreless games and never many blowouts. Overall – and there’s probably some hypocrisy in here somewhere – I enjoy watching Juventus win the title every year, just because it makes it that much more exciting for when they finally do get knocked off (hopefully by Roma this year). 4/5 here for a 5.5/10 and a 14.5/30 overall.
Finally, the English Premier League. Hell, we only have to look as far back as Tuesday night where Arsenal went one goal up against Everton, only to blow it in the end, losing 2-1, to know how entertaining the games really are, as Liverpool fans know your pain, all to well. It’s a league that has built a reputation on the fact that anybody can beat anybody, and that alone makes the games more enjoyable to watch. And, less safe for betting entirely. As far as the quality goes, even the relegation zone teams can string together a good performance when they put their minds to it, (or when they play Liverpool, looking at you West Ham).
And doesn’t there just seem to be more storylines that make the game’s of an overall higher quality, as well? From finally bringing in the almighty “Zlatan”, to Sergio Aguero’s weekly heroics and 3 match ban (Pep Doesn’t Like Him), or to Claudio Bravo’s excellent ability to pass out from the….(WHAT?!) Ok, maybe they aren’t all that great, but you get the point. The quality of the game’s themselves is at an exceptional level, even if the sides themselves aren’t always of that same quality. But, who cares when anybody can beat anybody in the EPL. A score of 4.5/5 here for a quality 8.5/10 for the day, but unfortunately it’s not enough as they fall just half a point shy of the Spanish empire, fitting for a league that can’t seem to shake off failing mostly in European competitions. Total score, 21/30.
<Story by Riley “Caveman” Krause>
Featured Photo Credit: OpenClipart-Vectors – Pixabay