The Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División, more commonly known as La Liga, is the top men’s professional football division in the Spanish football league system. Founded in 1929, fans of Spanish football have been able to enjoy matches for the past ninety-two years.
Some of the most successful football clubs in Spanish football, and indeed the world, participate in La Liga including giants of the game Real Madrid and Barcelona. Over the years there have also been a number of superstars who have played in the league too, including recently Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Andres Iniesta, and many many more.
Even fans who are not based in Spain can enjoy watching matches, catching up with the latest football news around the world, and betting on their favourite teams to win. With the quality of teams currently playing in La Liga, it’s one of the top markets at online betting sites like 21.co.uk for football fans – alongside the English Premier League, Italian Serie A and German Bundesliga.
Whether you support Real Madrid or Valencia, Barcelona or Athletico, there are plenty of opportunities for you to watch your favourite players in the La Liga. And since its inception through to the present day, La Liga has grown and developed, racking up some impressive stats and interesting facts along the way.
It is one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world
Since it formed in 1929, La Liga is one of the most followed football leagues in the world. The average attendance for league matches in 2018-19 was over 26,000. At the moment it is the third-highest professional football league in the world in terms of match attendance, behind only the German Bundesliga and the English Premier League.
Lionel Messi is the all time top goalscorer
Still active in La Liga, Lionel Messi is the top goalscorer and is far ahead of any other players. Considering he has scored 447 goals in 492 matches for Barcelona so far, you might be waiting a while for another player to beat his record. Most other top goalscorers are still hundreds of goals behind him – even close rival Ronaldo, who is the league’s second highest scorer, only netted 311 La Liga goals playing for Real Madrid before departing to play for Italian team Juventus in 2018.
Real Madrid have been the champions the most times
In second place on the list of champions, Barcelona have won La Liga an impressive twenty-six times. However, that is still nothing on the number one spot! Real Madrid are top of the board having been champions of La Liga an incredible thirty-four times so far. Having first won in the 1931-32 season, their last winning season was 2019-20. If you missed out on the recent season, there are some La Liga videos available to watch online to catch up on all the highlights.
Andoni Zubizarreta is still the player with the most appearances
While he was active from 1981-1998, Zubizarreta still holds the record for the player who has had the most appearances in La Liga. During his time playing for Barcelona, Athletico Bilbao, and Valencia, he made an incredible 622 appearances! While these appearances are an outstanding number, Zubizarreta never netted a single La Liga goal during his career.
Vicenç Martínez was the youngest player in the league
The youngest player ever to play for a La Liga team was Vicenç Martínez Alama (12 January 1925 — 2 October 2018). On 19 October 1941, he put on a Barcelona shirt at just sixteen years old and became Barcelona’s youngest ever player. That day he played in ‘El Clasico’ against Real Madrid but, unfortunately, was on the 4-3 losing side. Unfortunately for him, an injury caused him to retire in 1953 at just the age of twenty-eight.