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La Liga kicks off this weekend and on this week’s main report we ask whether the Spanish League is now better than the Premier League. Explanations of key terms are explained in bold at the end of the transcript below.
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Spain or England?
The much-anticipated Spanish football season, La Liga, kicks off this weekend, and it is one which Ronaldo now claims is the best league in the world – though that may only be because of his recent move there. But maybe Ronaldo has a point; has a shift occurred in the power structure of club football? Now with all due respect to domestic football in South America, or in Germany with the Bundesliga or even in Serie A the top two football leagues in the world are undoubtedly the English Premier League and Spain’s La Liga. But which one can truly call itself the best league in the world?
If you listen to British TV channel Sky Sports, which has the rights to broadcast football in the UK, then the answer is simple – the Premier League is the best in the world. And if we are talking global TV audiences then maybe they are right. The Premier League is broadcast to more than 200 countries and has a global reach of over 600 million homes with an average of about 80 million viewers per game. That’s a lot of people. La Liga is way behind those figures but by changing some of their kick-off times this season it is clear they are targeting the lucrative Asian market to go along with their already strong showing in North and South America.
The last TV deal between Sky and the Premier League in February 2009 was worth £1.78 billion over three years, a figure that La Liga can only dream about but despite this, Spanish League clubs pay their players as well as their English counterparts and in some instances even better. Indeed, the top 4 highest-paid players in the world are Ibrahimovic, Kaka, Messi and Ronaldo who all ply their trade in Spain. With the Euro strong against Sterling and the highest rate of tax much lower than in the UK, it is no wonder that players are being attracted to Spain.
And what about those players? Well, in addition to the four superstars mentioned above, La Liga will also be lucky enough to see such quality players as Atletico Madrid’s Kun Aguero, Valencia’s David Villa, Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas and Xavi Alonso, while at Barcelona, Iniesta, Xavi and Thierry Henry would walk into any team in the world. Of course, Barcelona are the current champions of Europe having destroyed England’s best, Manchester United, last May when their performance, more a dismantling actually, sent out a clear answer to our original question: which of the two leagues is better? Well, for financial power and current global brand awareness it has to be the Premier League but for possessing more top-quality players my vote goes to La Liga.
Here are explanations of some of the words and phrases from the reading.
much-anticipated: Eagerly awaited, people are really looking forward to it
is broadcast : Is shown on TV
the lucrative Asian market: The market in Asia is very popular; Football is very popular in Asia
counterparts The equivalent; those who have a similar stature or position
ply their trade: They work; they play in the Spanish League
would walk into any team in the world: They are so good they could play for anyone
a dismantling: Completely defeated, beaten heavily