LaLiga: The days of Real Madrid, Barça's 100-point hauls are over
In the 2011/12 season, Real Madrid topped LaLiga with 100 points and, the following year, Barcelona did likewise. In 09/10, the Catalans had already racked up 99, with Real just three behind. Now, I see that the newspaper El Mundo has published the pair's projected totals this term, by way of a simple calculation based on the points they have so far. The prediction has them finishing with just 76 each. Nobody has won the league with such a low haul since 06/07, when both ended up with that same amount. At that time, Cristiano Ronaldo was yet to arrive, and Spanish football was still to enjoy its great boom period, which had so much to do with Barcelona: the players in their ranks, the style of play...
I began to think big two would only drop points against each other
We're clearly emerging back out of that period. At its height, I even began to suspect we'd see a season in which both would beat everyone else home and away, and LaLiga would be decided in their two meetings, like a Copa del Rey semi-final. Things didn't get to that point, but I truly started to believe it might happen. Now, Cristiano has upped sticks and taken his goals elsewhere, and although Lionel Messi remains very much at the peak of his powers (one need only look at his display at Wembley), first Xavi, then Andrés Iniesta have left Barcelona, their departures bringing a halt to a well-oiled machine that utterly neutralised its opponents, most of whom spent 90 minutes chasing shadows.
New television deal has helped rest of LaLiga get better
However, it hasn't only been about the big two giving up ground. It's also a case of the rest getting better. It started with the resistance put up by a resurgent, Diego Simeone-led Atlético, who in 13/14 managed to muscle in on Real and Barça's clash of the titans and claim the title. And it was followed by the whole division also improving - thanks in no small measure to the new distribution of TV revenue, which signalled the end of an arrangement that saw Real and Barça lord it over everyone else. What with one thing and another, both of the traditional powerhouses are finding it harder to take the points on the road, and sometimes even at home. Just like it used to be. At the end of the day, that can only be a good thing for our league.