La Liga currently holds two of the four or five strongest clubs in football. Real Madrid and Barcelona are talented enough to win the Champions League almost any season they qualify.
But beyond those two, the rest of the league is suffering.
The gap between the big two and everyone else is so big that current fans are becoming less interested in the league, while the other 18 teams get very little respect from non-fans trying to get into the league.
While the causes are many—see my three-part series on La Liga's broken TV revenue system for an overview—solutions are more important and right now, there is no clear answer.
No End in Sight
All signs point to the duopoly continuing for many, many years.
The current state of Spain's economy is so bad that teams and fans are suffering, only making the "other" 18 clubs weaker in comparison.
From Top to Bottom
Even Barcelona and Real Madrid are suffering, albeit to a far less extent.
Both teams have enormous debt, but the magnitude is masked, and even covered, by having the two greatest revenue streams in football—which covers roughly 80 percent of the debt.
Taxes are also a big issue for these two. La Blaugrana have the second-biggest tax burden in the league, while Real Madrid needed a shady deal with the government to get rid of its tax burden.
For those unaware, Los Merengues sold their training grounds to the Spanish government to alleviate the tax debt, but the European Union investigated the sale.
But as poor as the situation is for those two, it is the rest of the league that is really suffering. The difference in revenues is growing every season and the new 2014 TV deal will not significantly help.
Any Hope for the Future?
Despite La Liga seemingly on the verge of financial collapse, there are some small signs of hope that there are other teams that will break up the duopoly soon.
Loan deals are starting to replace signings, the new Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations are forcing frugality for many clubs and the total tax debt has lowered for the first time in decades.
But will this be enough? Not right now.
In no way is any other team capable of contending within the next half-decade, but there are at least five teams who, if all the right pieces fall into place, can close the gap in the next few seasons and add a third main power in Spain soon.
What follows is a list of the five clubs in Spain that are in the best shape to break up the duopoly in La Liga within the next decade.
After reading the list, please comment and let us know who you think is in the best position to challenge the big two.
Note: Information regarding taxes, debt and revenues were taken from various studies shown by AS, Juse Maria Gay, Forza Futbol and the Swiss Ramble.