It is undeniable that the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga are the best-rated football leagues in Europe and the world.
While these two gigantic leagues are different, lots of football supporters and sports specialists try to compare the two.
That’s exactly what we are going to do, by using numbers, stats, and going over some crucial factors such as competitiveness, overall league quality over the last decades, and how clubs from both leagues have performed in Europe in the near past.
However, it is evident that Barca and Real Madrid ran away with European Cups in the last ten years, so, considering that such hegemony is apparently a one-time thing, we will be looking at stats from both leagues since 2000.
When it comes to competitiveness, it appears to be clear that the EPL is way more balanced than La Liga, which is often referred to as a two-horse race between Barca and Real.
While there’s some truth to it due to the recent El Clasico duo dominance in the domestic league, is the EPL much better than that?
Six Premier League clubs have managed to win the domestic league title over the past 20 years. Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Leicester City, and Liverpool were the ones who lifted the trophy during this period.
Manchester United were the most successful club, finishing at the top of the Premier league table eight times.
Since the 1999-2000 season, five Spanish clubs have won the league. Barcelona got the best out of Real Madrid, as the Catalans have won it ten times against seven from the Merengues.
As previously mentioned, the PL has been more balanced than La Liga over the last two decades. However, it wasn’t by a mile.
The game-changer for the EPL was the fall of the Red Devil empire back in 2013, which was the last time Man United have won the league title in England. At the same time, Catalans and Merengues have been sharing the top of the league in nine out of ten seasons over the last decade, which is an immense boost to the lack of competition in the Spanish league.
Performance in Europe Over the Last Two Decades
Comparing La Liga and PL clubs’ performances in Europe over the last decades is perhaps the most effective way to get to the answer we all are looking for. Have English clubs overcome the Spanish in Europe in the last 20 years?
Since the 1999-2000 Champions League season, English and Spanish have been to the final 16 times. During this period, Spaniards have won the big ears ten times, while Englishmen have lifted it four times.
Real Madrid and Liverpool were the most successful clubs for both leagues. The Merengues won it six times, while the Reds have managed to bring it back to Anfield twice. Both sides are also the ones to have more Champions League final appearances in the last two decades, with Real Madrid making it to the final six times – thus keeping a 100% record – and the Reds getting there on four occasions.
Besides these two clubs, Barcelona won the Champions League four times, while Manchester United and Chelsea managed to bag it once each during the 20-year period.
In terms of the number of clubs making it to the final, the PL has sent five representatives, while La Liga has sent four.
UEFA Europa League
In the UEL, the scenario is similar to what we’ve seen in the last section, as there was also a Spanish dominance. Since the 1999-2000 UEL season, 15 were the times where Spaniards and English have ventured into the final.
Just like in the Champions League, Spanish clubs have won the second-tier European competition ten times, where PL clubs have done it four times.
Sevilla were head and shoulders above any other club, as they’ve been crowned UEL Kings, winning it six times and establishing themselves as the club with the most UEL titles in history.
Looking at these numbers, it is clear that Spanish clubs performed better overall than PL clubs, with both Barba and Real bossing it in the Champions League, and Sevilla doing so in the UEL, as well.
UEFA Coefficient Ranks
Taking a look at the UEFA country coefficients table, the Spanish league is superior to the EPL. While both leagues can send up to seven clubs to European competitions – which is the best possible number of clubs – La Liga clubs have been getting more points overall than English ones over the past few years.
After all, we’ve seen throughout this article, it is not accurate to say that the PL is at a higher level than La Liga as it stands now. However, competition is getting fiercer year after year in the EPL, while the Barca-Real monopoly of the La Liga doesn’t seem to be ceasing in the near future.
At the end of the day, the “better” league will realistically depend on which one your favourite club is playing in and how often you watch each league overall.
A Liverpool supporter may not pay that much attention to average La Liga games, as these could look unattractive and not worth a two-hour watch, and the same goes for a Merengue fan in relation to the PL.
What is as clear as a bell, though, is that both leagues are absolutely worth a watch, with blockbuster games to be found in each. We highly recommend you watch both, and perhaps you will be in better conditions to answer which is your favourite one!