Football is by far the most popular sport in the world, and almost every country in the world has at least one domestic club league.
While many of the top leagues are located in Europe, they tend to attract fans from around the world who are quite passionate about defending the honor of their favorite teams and players.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some key facts about each of the world’s top five domestic soccer leagues that prove that they are better than the rest.
3 Facts About the Premier League in England
▶ Created in 1874, Aston Villa is the oldest team in the Premier League. In fact, it is one of the oldest football clubs still in existence today. It was a founding member of both the Football League and the Premier League.
▶ In May 2016, Leicester City won the Premier League despite being labeled a 5,000-to-1 longshot by oddsmakers. Only seven years earlier, the team played in the third tier of English football.
▶ Old Trafford, which is the home of Manchester United, is the largest club football stadium in the United Kingdom, and it is the second-largest stadium overall behind only Wembley Stadium. However, if stadium expansion plans are approved, Old Trafford would see its capacity increase to roughly 88,000 seats from its current 74,140 seats.
3 Facts About La Liga in Spain
▶ FC Barcelona is the world’s most valuable soccer team according to Forbes. In 2021, the team was valued at $4.76 billion, which was slightly higher than fellow La Liga member Real Madrid.
▶ Since 2000, Real Madrid and Barcelona have combined for 21 La Liga titles. The only other team to win a La Liga title in the 21st century is Valencia, who accomplished the feat after the 2003-2004 season.
▶ Each La Liga club is allowed to have up to five players from outside the European Union (EU) on their rosters at any one time. Only three players from outside the EU are allowed to compete on any given matchday.
3 Facts About Bundesliga in Germany
▶ Since 1963, Bayern Munich has won the Bundesliga 32 times and is the league’s defending champion. It has finished as its runner-up on 10 other occasions. No other team in the league has won more than five titles or has more than seven runner-up finishes during that same time period.
▶ Hamburger SV played in the top German division from its founding in 1919 until it was relegated for the first time in 2018. The team still plays in the 2. Bundesliga, which is the second tier of German football. Hamburger SV plays its home games at Volksparkstadion, which is one of the most famous soccer stadiums in the world.
▶ American superstar Christian Pulisic made his professional debut with Borussia Dortmund in February 2016. He is widely considered to be the best American player to play in one of the major European leagues. Pulisic left the team in January 2019 to sign with Chelsea of the Premier League. However, there are many top US soccer players who are making waves in Europe’s top five leagues.
3 Facts About Serie A in Italy
▶ According to the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), Serie A was the best in the world in 2020. The league’s commitment to strong defense and an appreciation for the fundamentals of the game are cited as reasons why its teams are so hard to play against.
▶ While most countries have two levels of professional domestic soccer, Italy has a third tier. Serie A is the highest level of professional soccer in the country, and it is followed by Serie B and Serie C. Teams can be relegated or promoted between levels based on their performance in a given season.
▶ Juventus is the most successful team in Serie A history with 36 championships. Milan and Internazionale have combined for another 36 titles since the league began play in 1898.
3 Facts About Ligue 1 in France
▶ Lionel Messi is often considered to be the best football player in the world today. He plays for Paris St-Germain in addition to serving as the captain of Argentina’s national team. He has won the Ballon d’Or a record seven times.
▶ The creation of Ligue 1 in 1932 marked the beginning of professional football in France. For reference, the precursor to the Premier League was created in 1888 while the precursor to the Bundesliga was founded in 1900.
▶ Paris St-Germain was number six in the 2020-21 Deloitte Football Money League of the the richest football clubs in the world. This index ranks each European team based on the revenue it generates during a given year, and during the 2020-21 season, the team earned €556.2 million. During the 2019-20 season, Lyon was also on the list having generated €180 million in revenue during that time.
3 Bonus Facts About the “Big Five” European Soccer Leagues
▶ With 13 UEFA Champions League titles, Real Madrid can legitimately be considered one of the best teams in all of Europe. AC Milan has won seven UEFA Champions League titles while Bayern Munich has won six such titles.
▶ Cristiano Ronaldo leads all active players with five UEFA Champions League titles. He won one of his five titles with Manchester United and the other four with Real Madrid.
▶ Of those players who participated in the 2018 World Cup, 108 played in the Premier League, which was the most of all European leagues. The Bundesliga sent 62 of its players to the 2018 World Cup while Serie A sent another 58.
The top five soccer leagues in Europe are home to some of the greatest players and teams in the history of soccer. They also tend to feature sides that are among the most valuable in the world because their brands are recognized and followed throughout the world.
Even if you don’t root for Manchester City, Barcelona, or Bayern Munich, simply supporting a team that plays in the same league as those teams means that your side is one of the best in the world. That is something to be proud of regardless of how many trophies your favorite side takes home each year.