Like England's Premier League, Spain also boasts a top-tier professional
football league known as the Liga de Fútbol Profesional, or more commonly as
Spanish La Liga or just La Liga. And like the English Premier League,
La Liga also boasts the country's top 20 football sides. Between September and
June, each club plays each other twice in a round-robin format. And by the end
of the season, the team with the most points is crowned the La Liga champions.
However, the bottom three teams are automatically relegated to the Segunda
División, and replaced by the top three teams from the Segunda División. Since
the 1950s, La Liga has been dominated by Real Madrid and Barcelona. Real Madrid
has won the La Liga championship 31 times to Barcelona's 19 times. But in the
last two decades, teams such as Real Betis, Real Sociedad, Deportivo, Sevilla,
Valencia and Atlético Madrid have also won the La Liga championship.
Each year the top four teams in La Liga qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
The first, second and third-ranked teams are ensured an automatic entry in the
UEFA group stage, while the fourth-ranked team must go through a qualifying
round. The UEFA Champions League commences with a round-robin group stage of the
best 32 teams from all over Europe. Meanwhile, the fifth and sixth-ranked teams
in La Liga qualify for the first round of the Europa League.
In the 2008-09 UEFA Champions League, La Liga's Barcelona proved victorious when
it beat the English Premier League's Manchester United 2-0. While in the 2005–06
UEFA Champions League, Barcelona beat the English Premier League's Arsenal 2-1.
The current teams in the La Liga 2009/10 season comprise Barcelona, Real Madrid,
Sevilla, Atlético Madrid, Villarreal, Valencia, Deportivo La Coruña, Málaga,
Mallorca, Espanyol, Almería, Racing Santander, Athletic Bilbao, Sporting Gijón,
Osasuna, Real Valladolid, Getafe, Xerez, Real Zaragoza and Tenerife.
Who will finish the season at the top of the log?
No-one likes to finish last but someone will - who is it this year?