La Liga

Last updated

La Liga
La Liga.png
Organising body Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional
(La Liga)
Founded1929;91 years ago (1929)
Confederation UEFA
Number of teams 20
Level on pyramid 1
Relegation to Segunda División
Domestic cup(s) Copa del Rey
Supercopa de España
International cup(s) UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
Current champions Barcelona (26th title)
Most championships Real Madrid (33 titles)
Most appearances Andoni Zubizarreta
Top goalscorer Lionel Messi
TV partners List of broadcasters
Soccerball current event.svg 2019–20 La Liga

The Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División, [lower-alpha 1] commonly known as La Liga [lower-alpha 2] (LaLiga Santander for sponsorship reasons with Santander), [2] is the men's top professional football division of the Spanish football league system. [3] Administered by the Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (English: National Professional Football League), also known as the Liga de Fútbol Profesional, and is contested by 20 teams, with the three lowest-placed teams at the end of each season relegated to the Segunda División and replaced by the top two teams and a play-off winner in that division.


A total of 62 teams have competed in La Liga since its inception. Nine teams have been crowned champions, with Real Madrid winning the title a record 33 times and FC Barcelona 26 times. Barcelona won the inaugural La Liga in 1929 with Athletic Bilbao claiming several titles in the league's early years. During the 1940s, Valencia, Atlético Madrid and Barcelona emerged as the strongest clubs winning several titles. Real Madrid and Barcelona dominated the championship in the 1950s, winning four La Liga titles each throughout the decade. During the 1960s–1970s Real Madrid dominated La Liga winning 14 titles, with Atlético Madrid winning four. [4] From the 1980s–1990s, Real Madrid were prominent in La Liga, but the Basque clubs of Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad had their share of success, winning two Liga titles each. From the 1990s onward, Barcelona have dominated La Liga winning 16 titles up to date. [5] Although Real Madrid have been prominent, winning 8 titles, La Liga has also seen other champions, including Atlético Madrid, Valencia, and Deportivo de La Coruña.

According to UEFA's league coefficient rankings, La Liga has been the top league in Europe in each of the seven years from 2013 to 2019 (calculated using accumulated figures from five preceding seasons), and has led Europe for 22 of the 60 ranked years up to 2019, more than any other country. It has also produced the continent's top-rated club more times (22) than any other league in that period, more than double that of second-placed Serie A (Italy), including the top club in 10 of the 11 seasons between 2009 and 2019 - each of these pinnacles was achieved by either Barcelona or Real Madrid. La Liga clubs have won the most UEFA Champions League (18), UEFA Europa League (11), UEFA Super Cup (15), and FIFA Club World Cup (7) titles, and its players have accumulated the highest number of Ballon d'Or awards (23), The Best FIFA Men's Player awards including FIFA World Player of the Year (19), and UEFA Men's Player of the Year awards including UEFA Club Footballer of the Year (11).

La Liga is one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world, with an average attendance of 26,933 for league matches in the 2018–19 season. This is the sixth-highest of any domestic professional sports league in the world and the third-highest of any professional association football league in the world, behind the Bundesliga and the Premier League. [6] [7]

Competition format

The competition format follows the usual double round-robin format. During the course of a season, which lasts from August to May, each club plays every other club twice, once at home and once away, for 38 matchdays. Teams receive three points for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, with the highest-ranked club at the end of the season crowned champion.

Promotion and relegation

A system of promotion and relegation exists between the Primera División and the Segunda División . The three lowest placed teams in La Liga are relegated to the Segunda División, and the top two teams from the Segunda División promoted to La Liga, with an additional club promoted after a series of play-offs involving the third, fourth, fifth and sixth placed clubs. Below is a complete record of how many teams played in each season throughout the league's history;

Number of clubs in La Liga throughout the years
Period (in years)No. of clubs
1929–193410 clubs
1934–194112 clubs
1941–195014 clubs
1950–197116 clubs
1971–198718 clubs
1987–199520 clubs
1995–199722 clubs
1997–present20 clubs

Ranking of clubs on equal points

If points are equal between two or more clubs, the rules are: [8]

Qualification for European competitions

Current Criteria

The top four teams in La Liga qualify for the subsequent season's UEFA Champions League group stage. The winners of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League also qualify for the subsequent season's UEFA Champions League group stage. If this means 6 La Liga teams qualify, then the 4th place team in La Liga instead plays in the UEFA Europa League, as any single nation is limited to a maximum of 5 teams.

The 5th place team in La Liga qualifies for the subsequent season's UEFA Europa League group stage. The winner of the Copa del Rey also qualifies for the subsequent season's UEFA Europa League group stage, but if the winner also finished in the top 5 places in La Liga, then this place reverts to the team that finished 6th in La Liga. Furthermore, the 6th place (or 7th if 6th already qualifies) team qualifies for the subsequent season's UEFA Europa League second qualifying round. [10]

The number of places allocated to Spanish clubs in UEFA competitions is dependent upon the position a country holds in the UEFA country coefficients, which are calculated based upon the performance of teams in UEFA competitions in the previous 5 years. Currently the ranking of Spain (and de facto La Liga) is 1st.

Extracted from the 2019 ranking of nations by their UEFA coefficient [11]
ChangeLeague2014–152015–162016–172017–182018–19CoefficientPlaces in UEFA Champions League Places in Europa League
11= Flag of Spain.svg Spain 20.21423.92820.14219.71419.571103.569421
22= Flag of England.svg England 13.57114.25014.92820.07122.64285.462421
33= Flag of Italy.svg Italy 19.00011.50014.25017.33312.64274.725421
44= Flag of Germany.svg Germany 15.85716.42814.5719.85715.21471.927421
55= Flag of France.svg France 10.91611.08314.41611.50010.58358.4982121
66= Flag of Russia.svg Russia 9.66611.5009.20012.6007.58350.54921111
77= Flag of Portugal.svg Portugal 9.08310.5008.0839.66610.90048.23211111
88= Flag of Ukraine.svg Ukraine 10.0009.8005.5008.0007.80039.90011111
99= Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium 9.6007.40012.5002.6005.60038.90011111
1010= Flag of Turkey.svg Turkey 6.0006.6009.7006.8005.50034.60011111



In April 1928, José María Acha, a director at Arenas Club de Getxo, first proposed the idea of a national league in Spain. After much debate about the size of the league and who would take part, the Real Federación Española de Fútbol eventually agreed on the ten teams who would form the first Primera División in 1929. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Arenas Club de Getxo, and Real Unión were all selected as previous winners of the Copa del Rey. Atlético Madrid, Espanyol, and Europa qualified as Copa del Rey runners-up and Racing de Santander qualified through a knockout competition. Only three of the founding clubs, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao, have never been relegated from the Primera División.

1930s: Athletic Bilbao prominence

Although Barcelona won the very first Liga in 1929 and Real Madrid won their first titles in 1932 and 1933, it was Athletic Bilbao that set the early pace winning Primera División in 1930, 1931, 1934 and 1936. They were also runners-up in 1932 and 1933. In 1935, Real Betis, then known as Betis Balompié, won their only title to date. Primera División was suspended during the Spanish Civil War.

In 1937, the teams in the Republican area of Spain, with the notable exception of the two Madrid clubs, competed in the Mediterranean League and Barcelona emerged as champions. Seventy years later, on 28 September 2007, Barcelona requested the Royal Spanish Football Federation (Spanish acronym RFEF) to recognise that title as a Liga title. This action was taken after RFEF was asked to recognise Levante FC's Copa de la España Libre win as equivalent to Copa del Rey trophy. Nevertheless, the governing body of Spanish football has not made an outright decision yet.

1940s: Atlético Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia emerge

Results of the five champions during the post-war years
1939–40 19328
1940–41 14253
1941–42 312761
1942–43 83127
1943–44 261031
1944–45 316105
1945–46 72316
1946–47 34261
1947–48 31652
1948–49 41682
1949–50 156103
Top three84547
     League champions
     Copa del Rey
     La Liga/Copa del Rey double

When the Primera División resumed after the Spanish Civil War, it was Atlético Aviación (nowadays Atlético Madrid), Valencia, and FC Barcelona that emerged as the strongest clubs. Atlético were only awarded a place during the 1939–40 season as a replacement for Real Oviedo, whose ground had been damaged during the war. The club subsequently won their first Liga title and retained it in 1941. While other clubs lost players to exile, execution, and as casualties of the war, the Atlético team was reinforced by a merger. The young, pre-war squad of Valencia had also remained intact and in the post-war years matured into champions, gaining three Liga titles in 1942, 1944, and 1947. They were also runners-up in 1948 and 1949. Sevilla also enjoyed a brief golden era, finishing as runners-up in 1940 and 1942 before winning their only title to date in 1946.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Spain, FC Barcelona began to emerge as a force under the legendary Josep Samitier. A Spanish footballer for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, Samitier cemented his legacy with Barcelona. During his playing career with them, he scored 333 goals, won the inaugural La Liga title and five Copa Del Rey. In 1944, Samitier returned to Barcelona as a coach and guided them in winning their second La Liga title in 1945. Under Samitier and legendary players Cesar Rodriguez, Josep Escola, Estanislau Basora and Mariano Gonzalvo, Barcelona dominated La Liga in the late 1940s, [12] winning back to back La Liga titles in 1948 and 1949. The 1940s proved to be a successful season for Barcelona, winning three La Liga titles and one Copa Del Rey, but the 1950s proved to be a decade of dominance, not just from Barcelona, but from Real Madrid.

1950s: Barcelona and Real Madrid Dominate La Liga

Naturalised Argentine Alfredo Di Stefano was part of a dominant Real Madrid side in the 1950s Di stefano real madrid cf (cropped).png
Naturalised Argentine Alfredo Di Stéfano was part of a dominant Real Madrid side in the 1950s
During the 1950s, Laszlo Kubala was a leading member of Barcelona scoring 194 goals in 256 appearances. Kubala.jpg
During the 1950s, László Kubala was a leading member of Barcelona scoring 194 goals in 256 appearances.

Although Atlético Madrid, previously known as Atlético Aviación, were champions in 1950 and 1951 under catenaccio mastermind Helenio Herrera, the 1950s continued the success FC Barcelona had during the late 1940s after they had won back to back La Liga titles. During this decade, Barcelona's first golden era emerged. Under coach Ferdinand Daučík, FC Barcelona won back to back doubles, winning La Liga and Copa Del Rey in 1952 and 1953. In 1952, FC Barcelona made history yet again by winning five distinctive trophies in one year. This team, composed of László Kubala, Mariano Gonzalvo, Cesar Rodriguez and Joan Segarra won La Liga, Copa Del Rey, Copa Eva Duarte (predecessor of Spanish Super Cup), The Latin Cup and The Copa Martini Rossi. Their success in winning five different trophies in one year earned them the name 'L’equip de les cinc Copes' [13] or The Team of The Five Cups. In the latter parts of the 1950s, coached by Helenio Herrera and featuring Luis Suárez, Barcelona won yet again their third set of back to back La Liga, winning them in 1959 and 1960. In 1959, FC Barcelona also won another double of La Liga / Copa Del Rey, conquering three doubles in the 1950s.

The 1950s also saw the beginning of the Real Madrid dominance. During the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, there were strict limits imposed on foreign players. In most cases, clubs could only have three foreign players in their squads, meaning that at least eight local players had to play in every game. During the 1950s, however, these rules were circumvented by Real Madrid who naturalized Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás. Di Stéfano, Puskás, Raymond Kopa and Francisco Gento formed the nucleus of the Real Madrid team that dominated the second half of the 1950s. Real Madrid won their third La Liga in 1954, 21 years later since 1933, and retained its title in 1955. In 1956, Athletic Bilbao won their sixth La Liga title, but Real Madrid won La Liga again in 1957 and 1958. All in all, Barcelona and Real Madrid won 4 La Liga titles each, with Atletico Madrid winning two Ligas and Athletic Bilbao winning one during this decade.

1960s–1970s: Real Madrid Superiority

Real Madrid dominated La Liga between 1960 and 1980, being crowned champions 14 times. [14] Real Madrid won five La Liga titles in a row from 1961-1965 as well as winning three doubles between 1960-1980. During the 1960s and 1970s, only Atlético Madrid offered Real Madrid any serious challenge. Atletico Madrid were crowned La Liga champions four times in 1966, 1970, 1973, and 1977. Atletico Madrid also finished second place in 1961, 1963 and 1965. In 1971, Valencia won their fourth La Liga title in 1971 under Alfredo di Stefano, and the Johan Cruyff-inspired Barcelona won their ninth La Liga in 1974.

1980s: Real Madrid and the Basque Clubs

Real Madrid's monopoly in La Liga was interrupted significantly in the 1980s. Although Real Madrid won another five La Liga titles in a row from 1986-1990 [15] under the brilliance of Emilio Butragueño and Hugo Sanchez, the Basque Clubs of Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao also dominated the 1980s. [16] Real Sociedad won back-to-back La Liga titles in 1981 and 1982, after leaving both Real Madrid and Barcelona as runner ups. Their title wins were followed by fellow Basque club Athletic Bilbao, who won back-to-back titles in 1983 and 1984, with Athletic Bilbao winning their fifth La Liga and Copa Del Rey double in 1984. Barcelona won their tenth La Liga title in 1985 under coach Terry Venables, their first La Liga win since 1974.

1990s: Barcelona's Dream Team

La Masia graduates Guillermo Amor, Albert Ferrer and Pep Guardiola. AmorFerrerMussonsGuardiola.jpg
La Masia graduates Guillermo Amor, Albert Ferrer and Pep Guardiola.

Johan Cruyff returned to Barcelona as manager in 1988, and assembled the legendary Dream Team. [17] When Cruyff took hold of this Barcelona side they had won only two La Liga titles in the past 11 years. Cruyff decided to build a team composed of international stars and La Masia graduates in order to restore Barcelona to their former glorious days. This team was formed by international stars Romario, Michael Laudrup, Hristo Stoichkov and Ronald Koeman. Cruyff's Dream Team also consisted of La Masia graduates Pep Guardiola, Albert Ferrer, and Guillermo Amor, as well as Spaniard Andoni Zubizarreta.

Johan Cruyff changed the way modern football was played and incorporated the principles of ‘Total Football’ into this team. The success of possession-based football was revolutionary and Cruyff's team won their first European Cup in 1992 and four consecutive La Liga titles between 1991 and 1994. In total, Cruyff won 11 trophies in eight years, making him the most successful manager in Barcelona's history until the record was broken by his protégé Pep Guardiola two decades later.

Barcelona's run ended with Real Madrid winning La Liga in 1995. Atlético Madrid won their ninth La Liga title in 1996, as well as their only Liga/Copa Del Rey double, before Real Madrid added another Liga to their cabinet in 1997. After the success of Cruyff, another Dutchman – Ajax manager, Louis van Gaal – arrived at the Camp Nou, and with the talents of Luís Figo, Luis Enrique, and Rivaldo, Barcelona won the La Liga title in 1998 and 1999, including their fourth double of Liga and Copa Del Rey in 1998. All in all, Barcelona won six La Liga titles in the 1990s and continued their success through the 2000s.

2000s–present: Barcelona's hegemony and new challengers

The 21st Century has continued the success FC Barcelona had in the 1990s under Johan Cruyff, dominating La Liga. [18] Although Real Madrid have been prominent, Barcelona have created a hegemony in Spain not seen since the Real Madrid of the 1960s-1970s. [19] Since the start of the new century, Barcelona have won a total of 10 La Ligas, including two trebles and four doubles. This new century however has also seen new challengers being crowned champions. Between 1999-00 and 2004, Deportivo La Coruña finished in the top three on five occasions, a better record than either Real Madrid or Barcelona, and in 2000, under Javier Irureta, Deportivo became the ninth team to be crowned champions. Valencia were also a fierce team in the early 2000s, as they were crowned La Liga champions in 2002 and 2004 under Rafael Benitez.

Real Madrid won their first Liga titles of the century in 2001 and 2003. With world-class players like Raúl, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Gonzalo Higuaín, Real Madrid won back-to-back La Liga titles in 2006–07 and 2007–08. FC Barcelona won their first title of the new century under the brilliance of Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o in the 2004-2005 season. Barcelona retained the title and won it again in the 2005-2006 season. Under the era of Pep Guardiola, powered by La Masia's talent, such as Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona added two straight Liga titles in 2009 and 2010. FC Barcelona also became the first team in Spain to achieve the Treble in the 2008–09 season, consisting of winning the La Liga/Copa del Rey double and the UEFA Champions League.

Barcelona won a third straight La Liga title in the 2010–11 season, but Real Madrid ended their winning streak in the 2011-2012 season under the management of José Mourinho. Real Madrid won their 32nd La Liga title with a record at the time of 100 points. The following year, in the 2012-2013 season, Barcelona won yet again another La Liga title under coach Tito Vilanova, replicating the 100 points record Real Madrid achieved the previous year. Atlético Madrid, under the management of Diego Simeone won their tenth La Liga title in 2013–14, their first since 1996. Atletico Madrid became the first team since Valencia in 2004 to win La Liga and break Barcelona and Real Madrid's dominion over the league. [20] In the 2014–15 season, under the trio of Messi, Neymar, and Suarez nicknamed 'MSN', Barcelona made history by becoming the first team to achieve a second treble, and winning a sixth Liga/Copa Del Rey double. Barcelona continued their dominance and in the 2015–16 season, won back-to-back Liga/Copa Del Rey double, something that has not been achieved since the 1950s. [21] Real Madrid brought back the La Liga title under the management of Zinedine Zidane in 2016–17, but Barcelona won the title again in the 2017–18 season, as well as winning their eighth double, [22] for a total of 7 La Liga titles in 10 years. Barcelona retained the title yet again and won their 26th La Liga title in the 2018–19 season, for a total of 8 La Liga titles in 11 years. [23]


Spain Madrid location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Red pog.svg
Red pog.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Community of Madrid teams in 2019–20 La Liga

20 teams contest the league in its current season, including the top 17 sides from the 2018–19 season and three promoted from the 2018–19 Segunda División. The promoted clubs include Osasuna and Granada, promoted directly from the second division, and the winner of the promotion play-off, Mallorca.

Stadiums and locations

Alavés Vitoria-Gasteiz Mendizorrotza 19,840 [24]
Athletic Bilbao Bilbao San Mamés 53,332 [25]
Atlético Madrid Madrid Metropolitano Stadium 68,000 [26]
Barcelona Barcelona Camp Nou 99,354 [27]
Celta Vigo Vigo Abanca-Balaídos 29,000 [28]
Eibar Eibar Ipurua 7,083 [29]
Espanyol Cornellà de Llobregat RCDE Stadium 40,000 [30]
Getafe Getafe Coliseum Alfonso Pérez 17,000 [31]
Granada Granada Nuevo Los Cármenes 19,336 [32]
Leganés Leganés Butarque 12,450 [33]
Levante Valencia Ciutat de València 25,354 [34]
Mallorca Palma Son Moix 24,262 [35]
Osasuna Pamplona El Sadar 17,286 [36]
Real Betis Seville Benito Villamarín 60,720 [37]
Real Madrid Madrid Santiago Bernabéu 81,044 [38]
Real Sociedad San Sebastián Anoeta 39,500 [39]
Sevilla Seville Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán 43,883 [40]
Valencia Valencia Mestalla 50,000 [41]
Valladolid Valladolid José Zorrilla 26,512 [42]
Villarreal Villarreal Estadio de la Cerámica 23,500 [43]

La Liga clubs in Europe

Real Madrid against Borussia Dortmund, in the UEFA Champions League semifinal 2013 Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Real Madrid - Borussia Dortmund, 2013 - 06.jpg
Real Madrid against Borussia Dortmund, in the UEFA Champions League semifinal 2013

The Primera División is currently first in the UEFA rankings of European leagues based on their performances in European competitions over a five-year period, ahead of England's Premier League, Germany's Bundesliga, and Italy's Serie A in fourth. [44]

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia are in the top ten most successful clubs in European football in terms of total European trophies.[ citation needed ] These three clubs, along with Sevilla and Atlético Madrid, are five of the most successful teams in European competition history; these five are the only Spanish clubs to have won five or more international trophies. Deportivo La Coruña are the joint fifth-most participating Spanish team in the Champions League with Sevilla — after Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Atlético Madrid — with five Champions League appearances in a row, including a semifinal appearance in 2003–04. [45]

In 2005–06, Barcelona won the Champions League and Sevilla won the UEFA Cup, making La Liga the first league to do the European "double" since 1997. This feat was repeated in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018. On 25 August 2015, La Liga became the first league to qualify five teams for the UEFA Champions League group stage (Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Sevilla and Valencia).


Performance by club

Performance by individual clubs in Primera División
TeamsWinnersRunners-upWinning seasons
Real Madrid
1931–32, 1932–33, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1956–57, 1957–58, 1960–61, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1971–72, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1977–78, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1994–95, 1996–97, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2011–12, 2016–17
1929–29, 1944–45, 1947–48, 1948–49, 1951–52, 1952–53, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1973–74, 1984–85, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19
Atlético Madrid
1939–40, 1940–41, 1949–50, 1950–51, 1965–66, 1969–70, 1972–73, 1976–77, 1995–96, 2013–14
Athletic Bilbao
1929–30, 1930–31, 1933–34, 1935–36, 1942–43, 1955–56, 1982–83, 1983–84
1941–42, 1943–44, 1946–47, 1970–71, 2001–02, 2003–04
Real Sociedad
1980–81, 1981–82
Deportivo La Coruña
Real Betis

Performance comparison this century

Performance comparison of top teams since 2000.

Teams 99–00 00–01 01–02 02–03 03–04 04–05 05–06 06–07 07–08 08–09 09–10 10–11 11–12 12–13 13–14 14–15 15–16 16–17 17–18 18–19
BAR 24462112311121211211
RMA 51314221122212322133
VAL 35151734106333584121244
ATM 19--12711107449753133322
DEP 122338813971018-19-16151618-
SEV 20-8106653534599557476
ATH 11129759121711138610124757168
RSO 131313215141619---1512471296129
ESP 14914171651511121011814131410138117
BET 18-689414161318--13720-1015610
VIL -715158375257418-6645514
     League champions
     Champions League
     Europa League

All-time La Liga table

The all-time La Liga table [46] is an overall record of all match results, points, and goals of every team that has played in La Liga since its inception in 1929. The table is accurate as of the end of the 2018–19 season. [47] Teams in bold are part of the 2019–20 La Liga season.

All-time LaLiga table
Last App
1 Real Madrid 8845292838170057158261353241332310834811929 1929 1
2 Barcelona 88444228381635578625608931792625121246851929 1929 1
3 Atlético Madrid 8235972690128661878646473360101016976591929 2002–03 1
4 Valencia 8435202740122463987745143542661013107521931–32 1987–88 1
5 Athletic Bilbao 883464283812326609464713379487105810491929 1929 1
6 Sevilla 75293624841024546914379134781445127331934–35 2001–02 1
7 Espanyol 84289427029746321096369339764525161929 1994–95 3
8 Real Sociedad 722672237889159589233393335232543191929 2010–11 1
9 Zaragoza 58210919866985227662683284714544181939–40 2012–13 2
10 Real Betis 53199518046384547122266260412345151932–33 2015–16 1
11 Celta Vigo 531879177460941075523902747245111939–40 2012–13 4
12 Deportivo La Coruña 46184315685694035962090226915411121941–42 2017–18 1
13 Valladolid 43151215044733956361799223111131948–49 2018–19 4
14 Racing Santander 441416142645333563818422365112151929 2011–12 2
15 Sporting Gijón 4313891458471358629175321521122171944–45 2016–17 2
16 Osasuna 37135113184263275651497183322261935–36 2019–20 4
17 Málaga 3713341293395335563144518241121949–50 2017–18 4
18 Oviedo 3811741192408292492164219513224111933–34 2000–01 3
19 Mallorca 2711489883332563991182137122151960–61 2019–20 3
20 Villarreal 19107572229419323599889111242101998–99 2013–14 2
21 Las Palmas 3410421134372249513137118201111151951–52 2017–18 2
22 Rayo Vallecano 1869468019715632780111581977–78 2018–19 8
23 Getafe 146675321771362196106971122004–05 2017–18 5
24 Granada 236677422181753498191158221941–42 2019–20 6
25 Elche 2160667820318029575010221121959–60 2014–15 5
26 Hércules 2053862818414929571610501451935–36 2010–11 5
27 Alavés 1451845615394209537723111930–31 2016–17 6
28 Tenerife 13510494155128211619744221961–62 2009–10 5
29 Levante 13506478135119224533756111963–64 2017–18 6
30 Murcia 184455861451432986079921940–41 2007–08 11
31 Salamanca 123754231231021984225811974–75 1998–99 7
32 Sabadell 14353426129952024927201121943–44 1987–88 4
33 Cádiz 123434481041272173936621977–78 2005–06 12
34 Logroñés 929334696921582914891987–88 1996–97 7
35 Castellón 11285334103791524195881231941–42 1990–91 4
36 Albacete 727727076761183204101991–92 2004–05 7
37 Almería 624222862561102443662007–08 2014–15 8
38 Eibar 52301906050802292672014–15 2014–15 9 [48]
39 Córdoba 92302828263137285430111962–63 2014–15 5
40 Compostela 41901605245631992411994–95 1997–98 10
41 Recreativo 51881865046902022961978–79 2008–09 8
42 Burgos CF 61682045950952163101971–72 1979–80 12
43 Pontevedra 61501805344831652211963–64 1969–70 7
44 Numancia 41481523737781552531999–00 2008–09 17
45 Leganés 31231143130531071492016–17 2016–17 13
46 Arenas 71071304321662273081341929 1934–35 3
47 Real Burgos 3961142644441011391990–91 1992–93 9
48 Gimnàstic 4911163416661812951947–48 2006–07 7
49 Girona 28876231934871122017–18 2018–19 9
50 Extremadura 28380202337621171996–97 1998–99 17
51 Mérida 28180192437701151995–96 1997–98 19
52 Alcoyano 4761083016621452521945–46 1950–51 10
53 Jaén 371902913481211831953–54 1957–58 14
54 Real Unión 45672211437153184111929 1931–32 6
55 AD Almería 25268171833711161979–80 1980–81 10
56 Europa 3425418630971311929 1930–31 8
57 Lleida 24068131441701821950–51 1993–94 16
58 Xerez 134388102038662009–10 2009–10 20
59 Huesca 133387121943652018–19 2018–19 19
60 Condal 12230781537571956–57 1956–57 16
61 Atlético Tetuán 11930751851851951–52 1951–52 16
62 Cultural Leonesa 11430542134651955–56 1955–56 15
    • Note: Despite finishing the season in the 13th position in the 2014–15 La Liga, on 5 June, Elche was relegated to Segunda División due to its financial struggles. Newcomers Eibar, who finished the season in the 18th position, took Elche's place in the 2015–16 La Liga.
League or status for 2019–20 season
2019–20 La Liga
2019–20 Segunda División
2019–20 Segunda División B
2019–20 Tercera División
2018–19 Divisiones Regionales
Club no longer exists

All-time La Liga table (3 pts. since 1995)

All-time La Liga table (wins, 3 points)
1 Barcelona 88256817513912011879
2 Real Madrid 88256116615510411849
3 Valencia 8824182072573641461
4 Atlético Madrid 8063851922293811347
5 Athletic Bilbao 882327242313–291223
6 Sevilla 7683251772661301152
7 Espanyol 882300237345–1121137
8 Deportivo La Coruña 806302227277121133
9 Real Sociedad 768282202284–11048
10 Villarreal 6842841792211101031
11 Real Betis 730251206273–102959
12 Celta Vigo 654241168245–8891
13 Mallorca 608226151231–39829
14 Málaga 646208165273–121789
15 Zaragoza 616191181244–114754
16 Racing Santander 616175184257–181709
17 Osasuna 570172153245–183669
18 Valladolid 540161159220–139642
19 Getafe 494162122210–104608
20 Rayo Vallecano 42613683207–211491
21 Levante 38010696178–189414
22 Alavés 30410565134–88380
23 Sporting Gijón 3508979182–209346
24 Tenerife 236726599–68281
25 Oviedo 2366669101–98267
26 Almería 2286256110–123242
27 Granada 2285651121–172219
28 Las Palmas 190494497–109191
29 Eibar 152493667–34183
30 Recreativo 152424169–67167
31 Compostela 122413348–30156
32 Numancia 152373778–98148
33 Albacete 118293059–57117
34 Salamanca 118272467–66105
35 Extremadura 80202337–5583
36 Mérida 80192437–4581
37 Elche 76202135–4781
38 Leganés 76201838–3678
39 Hércules 80211346–6176
40 Real Murcia 76122044–5756
41 Girona 3814915–951
42 Cádiz 3881218–1636
43 Xerez 3881020–1034
44 Logroñés 429627–5233
45 Gimnàstic 387724–3528
46 Córdoba 3831124–4620


Eligibility of non-EU players

In La Liga, players can claim citizenship from the nation their ancestors came from. If a player does not have European ancestry, he can claim Spanish citizenship after playing in Spain for five years. Sometimes, this can lead to a triple-citizenship situation; for example, Leo Franco, who was born in Argentina, is of Italian heritage yet can claim a Spanish passport, having played in La Liga for over five years.

In addition, players from the ACP countries—countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific that are signatories to the Cotonou Agreement—are not counted against non-EU quotas due to the Kolpak ruling.

Individual awards

Until the 2008–09 season, no official individual awards existed in La Liga. In 2008–09 season, the LFP governing body created the LFP Awards (now called La Liga Awards), awarded each season to individual players and coaches. [49] Additional awards relating to La Liga are distributed, some not sanctioned by the Liga de Futbol Profesional or RFEF and therefore not regarded as official. The most notable of these are four awarded by Spain's largest sports paper, Marca , namely the Pichichi Trophy, awarded to the top scorer of the season; the Ricardo Zamora Trophy, for the goalkeeper with the fewest goals allowed per game (minimum 28 games); the Alfredo di Stéfano Trophy, for the player judged to be the best overall player in the division; and the Zarra Trophy, for the top scorer among Spanish domestic players.

Since the 2013–14 season, La Liga has also bestowed the monthly manager of the month and player of the month awards.


The first La Liga player to be involved in a transfer which broke the world record was Luis Suárez in 1961, who moved from Barcelona to Internazionale for £152,000 (£3.4 million in 2019). Twelve years later, Johan Cruyff was the first player to join a La Liga club for a record fee, £922,000 (£11.2 million in 2019) from Ajax to Barcelona. In 1982, Barcelona again set the record by signing Diego Maradona from Boca Juniors for £5 million (£18 million in 2019). [50] Real Betis set the world record in 1998 when they signed Denílson from São Paulo for £21.5 million (£38.1 million in 2019). [51]

Four of the last six world transfer records have been set by Real Madrid, signing Luís Figo, [52] Zinedine Zidane, [53] Cristiano Ronaldo [54] (plus a deal for Kaká days before Ronaldo [55] which fell just below a world record due to the way the fee was calculated) [56] and finally Gareth Bale, who was bought in 2013 for £85.3m (€103.4m or $140m at the time; £98.5m in 2019) from Tottenham Hotspur. [57]

The Brazilian forward Neymar was the subject of an expensive and complicated transfer arrangement when he joined Barcelona from Santos in 2013, [58] [59] and his outgoing transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 set a new world record fee at €222m via his buyout clause. [60] Barcelona soon invested a large amount of the money received from this transfer in a replacement, Ousmane Dembélé, whose deal – €105m – was the second most expensive ever before Philippe Coutinho's transfer to Barcelona for €142m in January 2018. [61] [62]

Player records

Most goals

As of 7 March 2020

Boldface indicates a player still active in La Liga. Italics indicates a player still active outside La Liga.

RankPlayerClub(s)Years activeGoalsAppsRatio
1 Flag of Argentina.svg Lionel Messi Barcelona 2004–4384740.92
2 Flag of Portugal.svg Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid 2009–20183112921.07
3 Flag of Spain.svg Telmo Zarra Athletic Bilbao 1940–19552512780.9
4 Flag of Mexico.svg Hugo Sánchez Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid, Rayo Vallecano 1981–19942343470.67
5 Flag of Spain.svg Raúl Real Madrid 1994–20102285500.41
6 Flag of Argentina.svg Alfredo Di Stéfano Real Madrid, Espanyol 1953–19662273290.69
7 Flag of Spain.svg César Rodríguez Granada, Barcelona, Cultural Leonesa, Elche 1939–19552233530.63
8 Flag of Spain.svg Quini Sporting Gijón, Barcelona 1970–19872194480.49
9 Flag of Spain.svg Pahiño Celta Vigo, Real Madrid, Deportivo La Coruña 1943–19562102780.76
10 Flag of Spain.svg Edmundo Suárez Valencia, Alcoyano 1939–19501952310.84

Most appearances

As of 8 March 2020
RankPlayerClub(s)Years activeAppsGoals
1 Flag of Spain.svg Andoni Zubizarreta Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona, Valencia 1981–19986220
2 Flag of Spain.svg Raúl Real Madrid 1994–2010550228
3 Flag of Spain.svg Joaquín Real Betis, Valencia, Málaga 2001–2013 2015–54476
4 Flag of Spain.svg Eusebio Sacristán Valladolid, Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Celta Vigo 1983–200254336
5 Flag of Spain.svg Francisco Buyo Sevilla, Real Madrid 1980–19975420
6 Flag of Spain.svg Manuel Sanchís Real Madrid 1983–200152332
7 Flag of Spain.svg Iker Casillas Real Madrid 1999–20155100
8 Flag of Spain.svg Xavi Barcelona 1998–201550558
9 Flag of Spain.svg Miquel Soler Espanyol, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Sevilla, Real Madrid, Zaragoza, Mallorca 1983–200350412
10 Flag of Spain.svg Fernando Hierro Valladolid, Real Madrid 1987–2003497104


See also


  1. Spanish:  [kampeoˈnato naθjoˈnal de ˈliɣa ðe pɾiˈmeɾa ðiβiˈsjon] ; "First Division National League Championship"
  2. English: /læˈlɡə/ , [1] Spanish:  [la ˈliɣa] ; "The League"

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