This is all well and good when sitting at the top of your league are two of the best teams in the world; Real Madrid and Barcelona. For some years now, since Rafa Benitez’s Valencia in 2004 actually, anyone outside the top two didn’t really have look in.
Points records were broken, goal tallies were smashed and everyone marveled at the slick passing game both sides played. Then why is it that many of their top players are leaving Spanish shores for not so warmer climates?
The list built up over the last few transfer windows keeps growing: David Silva and Sergio Aguero joined Manchester City; Santi Cazorla joined the ranks at Arsenal; David de Gea ventured to Old Trafford while over at Anfield Benitez led a Spanish revolution bringing the likes of Torres, Alonso, Luis Garcia and the recently departed Pepe Reina.
It is not comparable to the French influx in the late 90s and early 00s where the likes of Vieira, Henry and Pires came to the country because the French league then couldn’t boast the talent and quality of teams that La Liga can.
I believe it is the increased competition of the Premier League and Bundesliga that attracts these players to leave, unless you play in Madrid or Barcelona you won’t have a look in; it may not have the same quality but in the Premier League next season any one of four teams has the ability to take the League title.
Despite the talent pool joining the Premier League the Bundesliga has staked its claim to European superiority as it’s champions Bayern Munich have managed to prise Thiago out of the hands of Barcelona as well as taking their former manager Pep Guardiola. Adding to this the fact that German teams have had the ability to convince their superstar players to stay in the country; Goetze, Lewandowski to name a couple.
It must be said though that there has been movement the other way as well, not nearly to the extent I have described above. But you can’t ignore the departures of Cesc Fabregas, the impending transfer of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid and a few years since Mesut Ozil left Bremen for Madrid.
Though there’s no denying that the allure of La Liga has faded and players are choosing to ply their trade elsewhere, worryingly for the rest of Europe it’s becoming more and more likely that Germany is the go to destination.