In the end, this week’s continental football didn’t turn out quite as badly for LaLiga as we’d feared: Atlético Madrid, Villarreal and Real Sociedad all made it through, so Spain still has its full complement of seven teams in Europe. That said, Barcelona and Sevilla have both dropped down into the Europa League - and for Barça it’s a major source of embarrassment to be spending their Thursday nights with the rank and file of the European game, away from the limelight of the Champions League. To make things worse, the Blaugrana go into the Europa League as favourites - a tag I’m not sure they’ll be able to justify. Sevilla, on the other hand, are returning to a competition they know and love. Julen Lopetegui's men are bitterly disappointed, of course, but will find it easier to get up for it.
Premier League stretching lead over LaLiga in UEFA rankings
This season’s Champions League group stage hasn’t done LaLiga’s European standing much good. The Premier League continues to rack up country coefficient points at a far higher rate than Spain. Having already leapfrogged LaLiga at the top of the UEFA ranking, results this term are allowing it to stretch its lead. After all, the four English teams managed 17 wins between them in their groups; Spain’s five representatives mustered 13. Barça, Sevilla and even Atlético, who squeezed through but had a poor group phase, all came up short. Real Madrid did what was expected of them, and little more could have been asked of Villarreal. In the Europa League, which is worth fewer points, Spanish sides did no more than get the job done.
Wealth of the Premier League is a growing problem
The Premier League, with its mega-rich clubs, is a problem - and it’s only getting worse. On top of the ‘big ‘six’, Newcastle United are also hugely wealthy now, and Leeds United are working on it. These clubs won’t be able to build top teams overnight, but they will have enough money to push prices up and snare players who are being targeted, or are already owned, by LaLiga sides. Newcastle are making eyes at João Félix, for example. That’s why the Spanish league's president, Javier Tebas, has launched the ‘LaLiga Impulso’ (‘Boost LaLiga’) plan, which I imagine will be confirmed at today’s LaLiga meeting, only to be immediately challenged by Real Madrid chief Florentino Pérez and RFEF president Luis Rubiales. The issue here is the Premier League, but we're fighting amongst ourselves.