Premier League Has Become a Massive Financial Juggernaut ... Yet Spanish Club Football Has Never Been So Far Ahead of Us on the Pitch; THE OLE SPIRIT: HOW RONALDO, BALE & CO ARE DOMINATING EUROPE

Sunday Mirror (London, England), May 29, 2016 | Go to article overview

Premier League Has Become a Massive Financial Juggernaut ... Yet Spanish Club Football Has Never Been So Far Ahead of Us on the Pitch; THE OLE SPIRIT: HOW RONALDO, BALE & CO ARE DOMINATING EUROPE


Byline: ANDY DUNN BRITAIN'S BEST COLUMNIST

THE Leicester player had a smile on his face but was only half-joking when he turned to his mate after news of a preseason friendly against Barcelona was announced. "Just the thing to keep team spirit high for the new season," he laughed.

The champions of Spain, victors by a single point, versus the champions of England, winners in a tenpoint stroll, should be a close one to call.

But even though warm-up games are often hard to predict, the Leicester fairytale would have to spring another chapter if Barcelona are to be beaten in the International Champions Cup match on August 3.

Let's face it, as spirit-lifting as it is to see Leicester cross swords with Barcelona (and they might do it for real at some stage of the Champions League), it looks a pretty conclusive mismatch.

That's no offence to Claudio Ranieri's magnificent team. It is just that Barcelona are champions of a country whose dominance in Europe and the world is becoming stronger as the Premier League gets richer.

Last night's all-Spanish showdown in Milan means La Liga teams have won the Champions League for three years in succession and the Europa League three years in succession.

They have won the last two World Club Cups.

In the past 11 seasons, Spanish sides have won six Champions Leagues and seven Europa Leagues.

That's 13 out of 22 titles - it is becoming a monopoly. It is not just the English who pale in comparison.

English teams have three titles in those 11 seasons, Italy two and Germany one.

But with the astonishing wealth of the Premier League - it generated a staggering PS3.4billion in revenue for the 2014-15 season - it is remarkable how far it trails Spain in terms of European accomplishment. Of the last 20 European ties between the two nations, only TWO have been won by English teams.

One of those was Liverpool's win over Villarreal - and Jurgen Klopp's team were promptly despatched by Sevilla in the final.

That result should not have been a surprise, even though English bookmakers had Liverpool as the favourites.

Sevilla finished seventh in La Liga, Liverpool eighth in the Premier League.

The idea La Liga does not have the same sort of strength in depth as the Premier League has long been exposed as utter nonsense.

The cumulative points tally of the bottom three clubs in the Spanish top-flight last season was 106 - here it was 87.

Of course, Premier League executives are not in the least bothered by the rapidly lessening impact their teams are having on Europe. …

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