La Liga (Liga BBVA)
The Primera División, also known as La Liga, is the top tier league 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 teams qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
The most successful club in the history of La Liga is Real Madrid, which has won the title 32 times. Barcelona FC follows with 22 league titles to its name. The two teams have dominated Spanish football since the League’s inception and are both regarded as two of the greatest clubs in the world. Recently this hegemony has been challenged by Atletico Madrid who won last season's title after an 18 year hiatus. This remarkable league title was followed by a spectacular run at the UEFA Champions League, during which Atletico reached the final, knocking out football giants, FC Barcelona amongst them, only to lose the final game to its biggest rival, Real Madrid.
The match between the league's most decorated clubs is known as the "El Classico" and is one of the top sports events in Spain, Europe and the globe, mostly due to the fact that the biggest talents play for these clubs. Currently, the major talents of Spain, Brazil, Germany, France, Columbia, Uruguay and Wales play for the clubs in La Liga. Not to mention the two that are considered as today's best football players; Argentinean Lionel Messi and Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo.
Another club that has won the league in the 21st century besides Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona is Valencia, who won two Primera División titles in 2002 and 2004. But Valencia has since failed to achieve further success, falling behind with the likes of Atlético Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla and Real Sociedad as the league’s other top teams.
The record win in La Liga history was Athletic Bilbao’s 12-1 victory over FC Barcelona in the 1930’s. The all-time top scorer in La Liga is Lionel Messi who scored 256 goals in 291 appearances, at the age of 27, all of them were scored for FC Barcelona. Telmo Zarra is 2nd on the all-time list, with an astonishing 252 goals for Atletic Bilbao,. Messi also has the record of scoring most goals in a season with 50(!!) goals in the 2011-2012 season.
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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