Spanish La Liga
Spain is home to some of the most successful teams in Europe, with some of the wealthiest and most renowned clubs in the world. La Liga was the playing grounds to some legendary football players like Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Zidane, Raul, Figo and David Beckham, not to mention more recently Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. These players elevated the popularity of the league and turned it into one of the most watched professional leagues in the world.
Many argue that the football played in the Spanish league is the most beautiful, with technique and finesse. It was with Pep Guardiola in Barcelona, where the Tiki Taka football style was developed, and the Spanish national team took a lot from this style of football. Some argue that it helped them win back-to-back European Cups and a World Cup between 2008 and 2012.
Best Teams to Bet On
In 2008, when manager Guardiola took the reins, Barcelona became unstoppable. They had a lot of home-grown talent in Catalonians; Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and the returning Gerard Pique, who had come back to his boyhood club after a successful stint at Manchester United. It saw the rise of Lionel Messi, who inspired the whole world with his technique and physical strength. He went on to win six Ballon D’ors while he was playing for Barcelona.
With the departure of Messi in 2021, it has been a trying time for the former champions, they have struggled with an aging squad and failed to bring in players that would inspire wins. Manager Ronald Koeman failed to establish his goals, and was sacked. He was replaced with Interim manager Sergi Barjuan, who was managing Barcelona B up until then.
With the return of former manager Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid is starting to establish themselves as the favourites to win La Liga this year. They have won the most titles, with 34 leagues and came runners up 24 times. With the arrival of David Alaba from Bayern Munich, they have covered the defensive gap left by long time captain Sergio Ramos, who went to PSG.
They were called Los Galacticos in the 2000’s, as they had the largest budget and would spend astronomical sums of money on players. They bought Zinedine Zidane from Juventus for €65 million in 2001, in what was the largest transfer fee at that time, and broke it again 8 years later when they bought Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United for €94 million. They were also the first team to spend €100 million on a player, when they bought Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013.
Fierce rivals to Real Madrid, Atlético have become strong title contenders in recent years. Managed by Diego Simeone, who is going into his tenth year as head coach, the team are defending title champions after a brilliant run last year. That year, they signed Luis Suarez from Barcelona for free, after his contract expired. The Barcelona manager decided he did not want Suarez, as the player was in his thirties and he was considered past his peak. Atlético Madrid offered the striker a lifeline, which he took and scored 21 league goals. The team has been criticized for its defensive play, but they still manage to win matches, and have a strong striking force in Suarez, Joao Felix and, returning on loan, Frenchman Antoine Griezmann.
Real Sociedad is an up and coming team in the league. They are managed by Imanol Alguacil, and though they do not boast a star studded line-up, they still manage to get forward in the league, finishing in fifth position last season. In 2020, David Silva returned to Spain and came to Real Sociedad from Manchester City as a veteran of the English game. He helped in the restructuring of the team, and with a strike force in Alexander Isaak, Mikel Oyarzabal and Adnan Januzaj, they have been able to start the season on a solid run of performances.
Managed by Julien Lopetegui, Sevilla have become strong contenders to finish in the top four. The Andalusian team has gone through five managers in the past five years, but their track record is still good in the league. They play very well at home, rarely conceding goals, and despite lacking a formidable goalscorer, they have enough quality in their defence and midfield to score goals from set pieces and midfield build up plays.
Current title holders of the Europa League, Villarreal fall in the top six. This season has started poorly for them, with manager Unai Emery failing to inspire his team to put in solid performances, but they are sure to climb back up.
From 2009 to 2018 this was not a mere clash between the two title contenders, but also a clash between Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo. The rivalries of the clubs and the players produced some of football's most dramatic moments.
In those days the competition was really heated, with a lot of foul play and negative behaviour from the crowd, the players would often mock their opponent’s crowd with their goal celebration. In 2017 Messi scored a 93rd minute winner, and went up to the Madrid fans and took off his shirt, holding it up in front of them so they could read his name. Later that year, Ronaldo was subbed on and scored a long range goal in the 80th minute and did the exact same celebration to the Barcelona fans, to get revenge on Messi.
Nowadays the derby lives on, despite the league losing both Ronaldo and Messi, but the quality is still kept, with Real’s Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos playing Barca’s Memphis Depay, Frenkie de Jong, and Ansu Fati to look forward to.
El Derbi Madrileno
The Madrid Derby is always a close and hard fought match. These matches usually end with Real winning or a draw, but Atlético have been closing the gap on Real in recent years. When Real Madrid was founded, in 1902, they started buying off players from local rival clubs, causing most of them to become defunct. The only club that could fight off Real Madrid was Atlético, because they were financially backed by their parent club Atlético Bilbao. This has led to a divide in the Madridian supporters, with Real seen as the more upper class, conservative club, whereas Atlético are more working class.
Barcelona vs Atlético Clásico
Barcelona and Atlético Madrid have a tense rivalry, especially following the exit of Suarez from Barcelona to Madrid. What makes this derby difficult to predict is the vast difference between the playing styles of each team. Barcelona likes to dominate games with high possession and build from the midfield, putting pressure when they lose the ball. Atlético’s game is far more defence oriented, they usually do not put too much pressure on their opponents until they draw most of the team into their half. They are strong in counter attacks and set pieces, where they can win aerial duels and score goals.
Making Your Bets
There are many different kinds of bets you can make on football matches. If you are new to La Liga, then the safest bets are when you bet on the full time result. There are a lot of factors that will help you choose who to bet on, including the form that both teams are in, their position in the table, who is playing home and who away, and more.
If you want to start watching the matches and make more complicated bets, then you can look at our other markets. There are the player markets, with bets on individual players’ performance. Halves and period markets are for a result up until a half or a period like the 30th or 70th minute. Specials are for those bettors who want to bet on the correct full time score, or for teams to come back from behind, or teams to win either half among other special bets.
To make the most of all the betting opportunities, be sure to look through our La Liga market, where you will find every match and you can see the huge variety of bets to choose from.