The Primera División, commonly known as La Liga and as La Liga Santander for sponsorship reasons, is the top professional association football division of the Spanish football league system. A total of 60 teams have competed in La Liga since its inception, nine teams have been crowned champions, with Real Madrid winning the title a record 32 times and Barcelona 24 times. Real Madrid dominated the championship from the 1950s through the 1980s, from the 1990s onwards, Barcelona and Real Madrid both dominated, though La Liga also saw other champions, including Atlético Madrid, Valencia, and Deportivo de La Coruña. In more recent years, Atlético Madrid has joined a coalition of now three teams dominating La Liga alongside Real Madrid and Barcelona. Its clubs have won the most UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup titles, and its players have accumulated the highest number of Ballon dOr awards. La Liga is one of the most popular sports leagues in the world. The competition format follows the usual double round-robin format, during the course of a season, which lasts from August to May, each club plays every other club twice, once at home and once away, for a total of 38 matchdays. Teams receive three points for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss, teams are ranked by total points, with the highest-ranked club at the end of the season crowned champion. A system of promotion and relegation exists between the Primera División and the Segunda División, the top teams in La Liga qualify for the UEFA Champions League. The first, second, and third placed teams enter the group stage. Teams placed fifth and sixth play in the UEFA Europa League, if both teams in the cup final finish in the top six, an additional berth in the Europa League is given to the team that finishes in seventh. In April 1927, José María Acha, a director at Arenas Club de Getxo, first proposed the idea of a national league in Spain. After much debate about the size of the league and who would take part, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Arenas Club de Getxo and Real Unión were all selected as previous winners of the Copa del Rey. Atlético Madrid, Espanyol and Europa qualified as Copa del Rey runners-up, only three of the founding clubs, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao, have never been relegated from the Primera División. They were also runners-up in 1932 and 1933, in 1935, Real Betis, then known as Betis Balompié, won their only title to date. Primera División was suspended during the Spanish Civil War, in 1937, the teams in the Republican area of Spain, with the notable exception of the two Madrid clubs, competed in the Mediterranean League and Barcelona emerged as champions. Seventy years later, on 28 September 2007, Barcelona requested the RFEF to recognise that title as a Liga title and this action was taken after RFEF was asked to recognise Levante FCs Copa de la España Libre win as equivalent to Copa del Rey trophy. Nevertheless, the body of Spanish football has not made an outright decision yet
Athletic Club, also commonly known as Athletic Bilbao, is a professional football club, based in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. They are known as Los Leones because their stadium was built near a church called San Mamés, mammes was a semi-legendary early Christian thrown to the lions by the Romans. Mammes pacified the lions and was made a saint. The club is one of three founding members of the Primera División that have never relegated from the top division. Athletic have won La Liga on eight occasions, fourth most in the history of the league, in the table of Copa del Rey titles, Athletic is second only to Barcelona, having won it 24 times. The club also has one of the most successful teams in Spain. The club is known for its policy of bringing young Basque players through the ranks. Since its foundation, Athletic has played exclusively with players meeting the criteria to be deemed as Basque players and this can be seen as a unique case in European football, it has gained Athletic both admirers and critics. The club has been praised for promoting home grown players and club loyalty, Athletic is one of only three professional clubs in Spain in La Liga that is not a sports corporation, it is owned and operated by its club members. Athletics main rivals are Real Sociedad, against whom it plays the Basque derby, Football was introduced to Bilbao by two distinct groups of players, both with British connections, British steel and shipyard workers and Basque students returning from schools in Britain. In the late 19th century, Bilbao was a port of an important industrial area with iron mines. It was the force of the Spanish economy and as a result attracted many migrant workers. Among them were miners from the north-east of England, and shipyard workers from Southampton, Portsmouth, the British workers brought with them the game of football. In the early 1890s, these workers came together and formed Bilbao Football Club, meanwhile, sons of the Basque educated classes had made the opposite journey and went to Britain to complete their studies in civil engineering and commerce. While in the United Kingdom, these developed a interest in football. In 1898, students belonging to the Gymnasium Zamacois founded the Athletic Club, in 1901, a meeting was held in the Café García, which established more formal rules and regulations. In 1902, the two Bilbao clubs formed a team, known as Bizcaya, in the first Copa del Rey. They returned with the trophy after defeating Barcelona in the final and this would lead to the eventual merger of the two clubs as Athletic Club in 1903
Club Esportiu Europa is a Spanish football team based in the city of Barcelona in the district of Gràcia, in the autonomous community of Catalonia. Founded in 1907, it plays in the Tercera División – Group 5, holding home games at Nou Sardenya, the club is best known for its football team who in 1929, along with city neighbours FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol, were founder members of La Liga. During the late 1990s they won the Copa Catalunya twice in succession, on both occasions beating FC Barcelona in the final. The club also has one of the oldest basketball teams in Spain, during the 1920s the basketball team were also Catalan champions on two occasions. CD Europa – Catalunya FC – CD Europa – CE Europa – CE Europa was founded on 5 June 1907 following a merger between Madrid de Barcelona and Provençal, in 1918/19 season the football team won the B division of the Campionat de Catalunya. After beating CE Jupiter 3–1 and 4–0 in a play-off for the title, during the 1920s, after FC Barcelona, CE Europa emerged as the second strongest team in Catalonia. In both 1921 and 1922 they finished as runners-up in the Campionat de Catalunya before winning the title in 1923 under coach Ralph Kirby, after finishing level on points with FC Barcelona, they then beat them 1–0 in a title play-off. They subsequently represented Catalonia in the 1923 Copa del Rey and after defeating Sevilla FC, in the Copa del Rey final at the Les Corts stadium, they lost 1–0 to Athletic Bilbao. Kirby subsequently went to coach FC Barcelona during the 1925–26 season, CE Europa finished as runners-up in the Campionat de Catalunya again in 1924,1927,1928 and 1929. In 1928 their impressive record saw them invited to join the very first La Liga and they spent three seasons in the Primera División, 1928/29, 1929/30 and 1930/31. In 1931, despite the return of Ralph Kirby they were relegated to the Segunda División, in 1931 CE Europa merged with Gràcia FC, formerly known as FC Espanya de Barcelona, and briefly became known as Catalunya FC. However the merger was not a success and during the 1931/32 season Catalunya FC, as a result, the fifteen games they had played in the Segunda División were annulled and the team were relegated to the Tercera División. The club then reverted to the name CD Europa in 1932, during the late 1950s and 1960s the club enjoyed a brief revival. After twice winning the Moscardó Trophy, a competition for Catalan teams in the Tercera División, on the latter occasion they succeeded in gaining promotion to the Segunda División. After five seasons, they were relegated to Tercera División after season 1967/68, in 1985–86 season the Castilian Club Deportivo was replaced with Club Esportiu. In both 1997 and 1998 CE Europa won the Copa Catalunya, beating FC Barcelona in both finals, in the 1997 final they faced a team coached by Bobby Robson and including Amor and Hristo Stoichkov and won 3–1. In the 1998 final they held the likes of Amor, Sergi, Iván de la Peña, Fernando Couto, Juan Antonio Pizzi and they then clinched the trophy 4–3 on penalties. Europa achieved its third tournament in the 2014–15 edition, after beating Girona FC in the final by 2–1, CE Europa hold home games at Nou Sardenya, with a 7, 000-spectators capacity
Futbol Club Barcelona, commonly known as Barcelona and familiarly as Barça, is a professional football club based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Founded in 1899 by a group of Swiss, English and Catalan footballers led by Joan Gamper, unlike many other football clubs, the supporters own and operate Barcelona. It is the second most valuable team in the world, worth $3.56 billion. The official Barcelona anthem is the Cant del Barça, written by Jaume Picas, Barcelona was ranked first in the IFFHS Club World Ranking for 1997,2009,2011,2012 and 2015 and currently occupies the third position on the UEFA club rankings. The club has a rivalry with Real Madrid, matches between the two teams are referred to as El Clásico. Barcelona is one of the most supported teams in the world, Barcelonas players have won a record number of Ballon dOr awards, as well as a record number of FIFA World Player of the Year awards. Barcelona is one of three founding members of the Primera División that have never relegated from the top division, along with Athletic Bilbao. In 2011, the club became European champions again and won five trophies, by winning their fifth Champions League trophy on 6 June 2015, Barcelona became the first European club in history to achieve the continental treble twice. On 22 October 1899, Hans Gamper placed an advertisement in Los Deportes declaring his wish to form a football club, FC Barcelona had a successful start in regional and national cups, competing in the Campionat de Catalunya and the Copa del Rey. In 1902, the club won its first trophy, the Copa Macaya and he said in a meeting, Barcelona cannot die and must not die. If there is nobody who is going to try, then I will assume the responsibility of running the club now on. Club president on five occasions between 1908 and 1925, he spent 25 years in total at the helm. One of his achievements was ensuring Barça acquire its own stadium. On 14 March 1909, the moved into the Camp de la Indústria. To celebrate their new surroundings, the club conducted a logo contest the following year, Carles Comamala won the contest, and his suggestion became the crest that the club still wears – with some minor changes – as of the present day. The contest was the most prestigious in that era, from the inaugural year in 1910 to 1913, Barcelona won the competition four consecutive times. Carles Comamala played a part of the four-time champion, managing the side along with Amechazurra. The latter became the clubs first full-time coach in 1917, the last edition was held in 1914 in the city of Barcelona, which local rivals Espanyol won
Real Madrid C.F.
Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, commonly known as Real Madrid, or simply as Real outside Spain frontiers, is a professional football club based in Madrid, Spain. Founded in 1902 as Madrid Football Club, the team has worn a white home kit since inception. The word Real is Spanish for Royal and was bestowed to the club by King Alfonso XIII in 1920 together with the crown in the emblem. The team has played its matches in the 85, 454-capacity Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in downtown Madrid since 1947. Unlike most European sporting entities, Real Madrids members have owned and operated the club throughout its history. The club was estimated to be worth €3.24 billion in 2015, the club is one of the most widely supported teams in the world. Real Madrid is one of three founding members of the Primera División that have never relegated from the top division, along with Athletic Bilbao. The club holds many long-standing rivalries, most notably El Clásico with Barcelona, Real Madrid established itself as a major force in both Spanish and European football during the 1950s, winning five consecutive European Cups and reaching the final seven times. This success was replicated in the league, where the club won five times in the space of seven years. In domestic football, the club has won a record 32 La Liga titles,19 Copa del Rey, nine Supercopa de España, a Copa Eva Duarte, and a Copa de la Liga. Real Madrid was recognised as the FIFA Club of the 20th Century on 23 December 2000, the club received the FIFA Centennial Order of Merit in 2004. The club is ranked first in the latest IFFHS Club World Ranking, setting a new ranking-points record, the club also leads the current UEFA club rankings. They founded Football Club Sky in 1897, playing on Sunday mornings at Moncloa and it split into two clubs in 1900, New Foot-Ball de Madrid and Madrid Football Club. On 6 March 1902, after a new Board presided by Juan Padrós had been elected, three years after its foundation, in 1905, Madrid FC won its first title after defeating Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Cup final. The club became one of the sides of the Royal Spanish Football Federation on 4 January 1909. After moving between grounds the team moved to the Campo de ODonnell in 1912, in 1920, the clubs name was changed to Real Madrid after King Alfonso XIII granted the title of Real to the club. In 1929, the first Spanish football league was founded, Real Madrid led the first league season until the last match, a loss to Athletic Bilbao, meant they finished runners-up to Barcelona. Real Madrid won its first League title in the 1931–32 season, Real won the League again the following year, becoming the first team to have won the championship twice
Real Sociedad de Fútbol, S. A. D. more commonly referred to as Real Sociedad or La Real, is a Spanish football club based in the city of San Sebastián, Basque Country, founded on 7 September 1909. It plays its matches at the 32, 000-capacity Anoeta Stadium. Real Sociedad won the Liga title in 1980–81 and 1981–82, the club has also won the Copa del Rey twice, in 1909 and 1987. It contests the Basque derby against rivals Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad were founder members of La Liga in 1928, and its longest spell in the top flight was for 40 seasons, from 1967 to 2007. The club has competed in the UEFA Champions League twice, in the 2003–04 season, the club progressed to the round of 16 before losing to Lyon. Real Sociedad also has several sections, womens football, track and field, field hockey. The clubs name means Royal Society of Football in Spanish, during the Second Spanish Republic, it was renamed Donostia Club de Fútbol. The club is nicknamed in Basque as Erreala or the txuri-urdin, the colours stem from the flag of San Sebastián, a blue canton on a white field. Football was introduced to San Sebastián in the early 1900s by students, in 1904, they formed the San Sebastian Recreation Club and in 1905 the club competed in the Copa del Rey. In May 1905, the San Sebastian Football Club was formed as a branch of the club. In 1909, it applied to enter the Copa del Rey and this team defeated Club Español de Madrid 3–1 in the final. Out of the confusion, the Sociedad de Futbol was formed on 7 September 1909, in 1910, Spanish clubs played in two rival cup competitions and Sociedad de Futbol entered the Copa UECF as Vasconia de San Sebastián. In the same year, King Alfonso XIII – who used San Sebastián as his summer capital – gave the club his patronage, Real Sociedad were founder members of La Liga in 1928. The team came fourth with Francisco Paco Bienzobas finishing as top scorer, the teams name was changed to Donostia Club de Futbol in 1931 with the advent of the Second Spanish Republic, but changed back to Real Sociedad after the Spanish Civil War in 1939. The team has fluctuated between the Primera and Segunda divisions, in one period managing to be relegated and promoted seven times. Around that time, the sculptor Eduardo Chillida was the teams goalkeeper until injury put a stop to his football career. This qualified La Real for the 1981–82 European Cup, where they were eliminated in the first round by CSKA Sofia of Bulgaria, the second leg in Spain was a 0–0 draw. The club retained the Liga title the season, beating Barcelona by 47 points to 45