Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao make up the Spanish contigent of those clubs never to have fallen out of the first division. Premier League, Bundesliga... The USA vs. Ecuador live and direct: Friendly FIFA Date
In all of its history, many teams have spent time in the Spanish Primera División, but only three - Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao - have played all their league games in the top flight.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao: who else?
This got us thinking about the other leagues around Europe and the clubs that fall into this category: of which there are another 16. It's worth highlighting that, for the purposes of this overview, we are not including teams that have never experienced relegation in some form. Spanish minnows Eibar, who have been gaining lots of new admirers for the past three seasons in the Primera, haven't tasted the drop, but have played in lower leagues.
So, how many of the now money-rich empires of the Premier League have maintained their position at the top table? What about Italy, Germany, France, Holland, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Belgium and Scotland? Let's have a look.
Inter Milan: only other from big leagues
Removing the Spanish trio, would you believe that only one other club from the big five leagues gets a place in our list? That goes to Inter Milan in Italy's Serie A. That does mean, therefore, that we'll see no representatives from England or France in our list below.
Of course, things have changed a lot in football and one major development in England was the creation of the FA Premier League in 1992. But looking all the way back through the Division One history books shows that a team has never avoided the drop at some point. The same is true in France although the current club of PSG is an interesting case and almost complies. Founded in 1970, following the merger of Paris FC and Stade Saint-Germain, they split up in 1972 with Paris FC continuing in the first division and PSG having to start again in the third tier. Since their return in 1974 (the same year Paris FC dropped out of the top flight) they have remained.
It's also important to note that country politics have played their part and, for the purposes of this article, more recently created nations have not been included in the list. More insight into those can be found here.
Have a look at the table below and impress your friends with your new knowledge...
European clubs that have never been relegated from top flight