Every year it always seems that it’s a two team race in the Spanish La Liga. And to be honest I’m completely fine with that. I like knowing that I only have to watch what Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are doing. It’s the white of Real vs. the Red/Blue of Barca. It’s Ronaldo and it’s Messi. Both teams are glorified All-Star teams and they clash numerous times every season in the “El Clasico”.
Last year Real Madrid took the league crown with a record 100 pts, where Barcelona held that honor the previous 3 seasons. The only team to win La Liga since 2000 other than RM and Barca was Valencia (01/02 and 03/04). So to expect anyone else but those two teams to win the league is just foolish.
In the battle of Messi or Ronaldo it’s all based on preference, you can’t really go wrong and it all depends on what style of soccer you like best. Last season during La Liga Messi led the league with 50 goals and Ronaldo was just behind him with 46. While these two were setting unprecedented records the rest of the league leaders in scoring were Falco at 26, and the pair of Real Madrid strikers Gonzalo Higuain at 22, Karim Benzema with 21. The next closest to Messi on Barca was Alexis Sanchez at 12. Barcelona is all in with Messi there is no doubt about that. Imagine Barca if Messi got hurt or was ever to leave for another club…
Not to make excuses for Barca but injuries were a huge part of their season. Spanish striker David Villa was out for the year with a broken leg and defenders Pique and Puyol also missed significant time with nagging injuries. I would expect Messi’s numbers to come down a bit as Villa is a prolific scorer who will eat into his 50 goals. Ronaldo will keep on going as Real Madrid has the same team that won them La Liga. The biggest question surrounding Real will be the rotation of it’s players. Coach Jose Mourinho has been criticized for not using his bench and thus Real Madrid running out of gas down the stretch as was seen in the Champions League Semifinals against Bayern Munich.
As I mentioned Barcelona will get back Villa which feels like striking at rich in the transfer market and they also locked down their left-defender position with Jordi Alba who transfers in from Valencia. The players that will be put on the field won’t be the concern for Barcelona but the new coach will be. Throughout the resurrection of Barcelona, Pep Guardiola has been running the ship and last year was his final one with Barca. You have to believe it will be a culture shock for some of the players but at the end of the day when you can run out a team with Messi, Iniesta and Xavi you have a chance to win every game you play. I’m sure Barca will come out on fire since they had a disappointing 2011/2012 season. No league title and a heart-breaking defeat to Chelsea in the Champions League Semis.
The only other team in the league worth mentioning is Valencia. Despite the loss of Jordi Alba they still are a team that will rack up wins this season. Their main man is striker Roberto Soldado and he looks to improve on his 17 goals from last season. Valencia finished 3rd last season and it’s safe to assume they will land there again. Just to put it in perspective Valencia had 61 pts in 3rd place, Real Madrid won the league with 100 and Barcelona 2nd place had 91. So again it’s a two team race.
- Real Madrid
- Atletico Madrid
- Celta Vigo
- Cristiano Ronaldo – Real (Last Season: Lionel Messi)
- Lionel Messi – Barca (Last Season: Mesut Ozil)