Madrid, Barça, Atlético, Sevilla - and...?
Slightly at the instigation of Bayern Munich, the possibility of a European super league is back on the agenda. It's by no means to Real Madrid's disliking either, but it's the Bavarians who sense the greater urgency. Television money is more evenly distributed in Germany, leaving Bayern feeling at a disadvantage in that area when they compare their lot with Premier League sides (it's pretty evenly shared out there, too, but the amounts involved are much higher) or Real and Barcelona in Spain, who bank double what the Germans do in that department. And the Italians are in the same boat as Bayern. AC Milan are also monitoring developments closely, in the hope of increased broadcasting revenue.
It goes without saying that LaLiga doesn't like it one bit. I'm not convinced by the idea, either. I still believe that big clashes on the domestic scene - with their complex network of rivalries gradually woven over the course of a century - continue to provide greater interest (and TV income) than they do on the European stage. As things stand, there's a good mix of national action and continental football, in which we've come to boast five representatives in the Champions League, plus another two in the Europa League. Spanish followers of the beautiful game enjoy having football on both fronts, and I think taking a hatchet to the country's league for the sake of a wider, European version would be bad news.
To ward this off, it's in LaLiga's interests to ensure a core of clubs as broad as it is strong. Having Real and Barça, who are going through a golden age thanks to the coinciding emergence of Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi, isn't enough. Atlético Madrid muscling in on them has been a really good thing; the same goes for Sevilla's recent European success, and the fact that they've made the cup final against Barça, a match football fans the world over will watch with relish. Then there's Villarreal, Athletic Club and their unique identity, a reborn Celta Vigo... The slump suffered by Valencia, a great club of international standing, is less welcome. Faced with the threat of a new, European project, LaLiga needs all its assets.
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