LaLiga Santander continues to lead the way across European football, with UEFA confirming that Spanish clubs go into the new season leading its ranking of the leagues from member associations for an eighth successive season.
Determined by the results of the clubs of the associations in Champions League and Europa League games over the past five seasons, the UEFA coefficient shows which leagues have been consistently successful and overcome opponents from other countries around Europe.
Sevilla’s Europa League final victory over Italian side Inter Milan in early August ensured that LaLiga would keep the leading position in the ranking as they have all the way back to 2012/13.
Although 2019-20 ended in disappointment for LaLiga clubs in the Champions League, Atletico de Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid all made the latter stages of the competition once again. That saw LaLiga pick up a total of 18,928 coefficient rankings points over the course of the campaign, ahead of Germany (18,714) and England (18,571) to be the domestic league with the best performances last season.
This allowed Spain to consolidate its position atop the rankings, which take into account the total points gathered over the last five seasons. LaLiga sits top with 102,283 points, well ahead of second placed England (90,462) and Germany in third spot (74,784).
Such an advantage should not really be a surprise, if we consider how LaLiga has dominated both UEFA’s top two club competitions over the last decade. Real Madrid won four of five Champions Leagues from 2013/14 to 2018/19, while Barcelona have won another four trophies since 2005/06. Over that time England has just three titles, Italy has two, Germany has two, meaning that LaLiga has won the trophy more times than all the other European leagues combined. Also important is that even when a Spanish team did not ultimately prevail, there have generally been at least three clubs from LaLiga going deep into the competition each year.
The story of domination is similar in the Europa League. Sevilla’s 2019/20 success was – remarkably – the Andalusian club’s sixth victory since 2005/06 in the competition which was known as the UEFA Cup until 2009. Atletico de Madrid also won the trophy in 2017/18, 2011/12 and 2009/10, while Valencia took it in 2003/04. So, over the last 17 seasons, Spain has won it 10 times – while England has three victories, Russia has two, Portugal and Ukraine one each. Other LaLiga teams have also contributed to keeping the coefficient ranking high with runs in the competition – including Villarreal, Athletic Club, Real Sociedad, Real Betis and RC Celta in recent seasons.
Since the start of the 21st century, exactly half of the UEFA competition finals have been won by a Spanish team. If we count just the last 15 seasons, LaLiga clubs have won almost two from every three European titles. LaLiga teams have been especially ruthless in these finals. Of the 15 finals held between a Spanish side and a non-Spanish side in the Champions League or the UEFA Cup/Europa League since 2001, the LaLiga team has won every single time.
Sevilla should therefore be confident when they face Champions League holders Bayern Munich in the UEFA Super Cup in Budapest on September 24th. Julen Lopetegui’s team will know that a LaLiga team has won European football’s showpiece season opener in nine of the last 10 years, shared equally between Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atleti. Sevilla and Valencia have also won the trophy, in 2006 and 2004 respectively.
Football is an unpredictable game, and anything can happen over 90 minutes, especially in uncertain times such as these. However over time, those teams and leagues which show the greatest consistency get the greatest rewards. Which is why UEFA’s latest coefficient figures are further prove that no other country around European even comes close to matching Spanish football’s incredible record of success.