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La Liga (Liga BBVA)
The Primera División, also known as La Liga, is the top tier of Spanish club football. The league was founded in 1929 with 10 founding clubs. Today 20 clubs take part in the league each season, with the top 4 sides qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
The most successful side in La Liga history is Real Madrid, who have won the title on 32 occasions, followed by Barcelona, who have 22 league titles to their name. The two sides have dominated Spanish football since the League’s inception and are both regarded as two of the greatest clubs in the world. Recently, a new name is rising to fame- Athletico Madrid brought the title home last season, after an 18 year hiatus. This league title was followed by a spectacular run at the UEFA Champions League, during which Athletico reached the final, knocking out football giants such as Milan, Barcelona and Chelsea.
The match between the league's most decorated clubs is known as El Classico and is one of the most highly anticipated football fixtures on the European calendar, as it features the two best footballers on the planet; Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Another club who have won the league recently besides Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid and Barcelona is Valencia, who won two Primera División titles in 2002 and 2004, but Valencia have since fallen behind the likes of Atlético Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad as the league’s other top sides.
The record win in La Liga history was Athletic Bilbao’s 12-1 victory over Barcelona in the 1930’s. The all-time top scorer in La Liga is Telmo Zarra who scored 251 goals in 277 appearances, most of which were scored for Athletic Bilbao. Lionel Messi is 2nd on the all-time list, with an astonishing 243 goals, at the age of 27.
In 2013 Gareth Bale was bought by Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur for £85.3 million making him the most expensive footballer on the planet.
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