Sunday, 10 July 2011

How do you break the stranglehold of Barca and Madrid?

The biggest clubs in the world. Immortals of the game, on and off the pitch. They continuously put fear in the eyes of players, but also club owners. Who else could do such a thing? Who else could boast players of a magnificent pedigree, above all the rest of on Earth? Who else could spend the majority of the season approximately 20 points ahead of the nearest competition in 3rd place? The clue is already in the title - only Real Madrid and Barcelona could achieve such a mean feat. Only those two teams could stop the likes of Valencia and Villarreal from acclaiming the prestigious La Liga title (which currently, seems quite impossible).

What is stopping the likes of Valencia and Villarreal from winning the title? Well, part of the reason is quite obvious, isn't? The players! Real are able to count on Ronaldo, Ozil, Benzema and  Casillas to fire them to victory, with Barca also being capable of producing the very best with Messi, Xavi and Iniesta plying their trade in Catalonia. It is/was a tough ask for Villarreal to rely on their hitman, Giuseppe Rossi, to produce the goods (with Valero also having a terrific season). It is/was also tough for Valencia to expect players (very good players) of the calibre of Mata and Banega to fight the "Big Two" for major honours. Also, with both players looking at a likely exit, Valencia can expect a troublesome time next season, albeit, not in crisis mode, which has already been spouted about. 

Barcelona and Real Madrid have arguably the best managers in the world, and with the players that they currently occupy it is the near impossible task to overcome them. They are fitter than the rest, they are more tactically astute than the rest, and they are technically superior to the rest. That superiority is also shown off the pitch with the excessive revenue that the two ‘Super Giants’ share. Forget about stadium revenue, and instead think about the broadcasters who give the pair huge sums of money to show the entertainers on their channel. Their TV rights, compared to the inferior teams in La Liga are mesmerizingly astonishing. It is known that there has been a political dispute regarding this issue, so that the TV rights are shared somewhat equally amongst the 20 teams in the division, but I think we all know that the proposal is a little impropable.

Barca and Real are different to the rest, and everyone knows that. The ‘others’ can’t compete with them as their income is significantly less than the two biggest clubs in the league. If there were to be equal TV rights (including equal commercial deals) then the long lasting dispute will last even longer. Cash-strapped teams like Valencia see it as an opportunity to fund their new stadium, and to decrease their debt, but who else could argue against Barcelona and Real Madrid? The country needs them, and the pair needs to the country - well, the government. If they want big money loans for big money signings then they’d happily be given it, as in the long term it will only benefit the money generated from winning major competitions, such as the Champions League.

Unfortunately money is taking over the game, and there is no doubt across the globe that Barca and Real love it. What about FIFA’s Financial Fair Play, which is due to be installed any time soon? Please! Are you telling me that Platini and co can stop Barca and Real from producing enticing football, whilst stopping luring people into their clubs with the world class players they have, hence halting the money flow? Of course not.

Reducing income from TV revenue and commercial deals isn’t a realistic idea, nor are the likes of Villarreal, Valencia and Sevilla welcoming players of the highest pedigree.

So, whilst the standard of the football will remain sky high for the foreseeable future, there is the unfortunate feeling that the competition won’t mirror the football. I do sincerely hope that Valencia can win their first title since 2004, or Villarreal pulling something magical out of the hat, but it is far-fetched to think in such a manner.

Here’s hoping for a competitive La Liga next season to mirror the usual fascinating football.

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