The battle for the best domestic league in the world has been contested for years. While Italy and England have each claimed the title in previous eras, it is time we viewed La Liga as the best in the world.
While Barcelona and Real Madrid easily come to mind, the league is littered with talent up and down the table. Though there has always been an allure to Spain, the hype is now more than justified.
But what makes a league the best around? Goals? Stars? Victories abroad? Balanced competition? We believe it is a combination of such characteristics. With this reasoning in mind, the case for La Liga can easily be made.
Click on to see eight reasons why La Liga is the world's best.
Last season, La Liga games produced 1091 total goals—an average of 2.87 per game. That tally made La Liga the most prolific of the top divisions in Europe.
England was a close second with 1063 or 2.8 per match followed by Serie A with 1003 goals, 2.64 per game.
Goals are what the fans want to see. Football is entertainment, after all, and there is no better way to please a crowd than with loads of scoring. Goals decide the games, make heroes out of our favorite players and can transform entire seasons.
Nobody scores more than the Spanish top flight.
The Champions League is the great equalizer. The best of the best from around Europe square off in mouthwatering matchups each year, providing us with elite competition and the world's greatest stars.
But in recent years, which league has had the most success?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is La Liga that comes out on top. Since 2000, a Spanish side has won the title five times, followed by England and Italy with three apiece, and Germany twice. To enforce the notion—Spain has had seven finalists in that same era, England with eight, Germany six and Italy four.
The statistics don't end there. A full 35.7 percent of semi-finalists have been from Spain—England 30.4, Germany 14.3, Italy 12.5.
When it comes to international success in the world's greatest club competition, Spain is without a doubt the most significant contributor.
Perhaps an even stronger indicator of league success is how the second-tier teams fare in Europe. The Europa League gives us a glimpse each year, and it is in this competition that Spain continues to reign supreme.
Much maligned for being a two-horse race each season, La Liga's other participants can certainly hold their own against teams from other divisions.
Out of the last 10 winners, five have been Spanish sides. Valencia, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid have all claimed the crown in the last decade—indications that despite rarely challenging for their domestic crown, La Liga's competitive teams are top notch.
While it's true that every country has great rivalries, none quite compare to Real Madrid and Barcelona. El Clasico is always the most anticipated match in world football, but in recent years the contest has reached new heights.
The fearsome personal duel between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo adds a remarkable bonus to an already scintillating fixture. The pair are simply the best footballers on the planet—head and shoulders above even the superstars they call teammates.
But, the rivalry is more than an individual feud. At either the Santiago Bernabeu or Camp Nou, the games will draw more than 80,000 spectators, creating a breathtaking atmosphere.
Not to mention the significance of Madrid vs. Catalonia. The political implications of such a tie—Catalonians have a long history of oppression under Spanish rule and Madrid is the capital city—only add fervor to a derby that needs no extra incentive.
The two clubs are among the world's elite, each winning Champions League crowns since 2000, with multiple semi-final appearances between the two.
Needless to say—it is the greatest rivalry in football.
A tremendous signal of La Liga's strength is the success its exports have on foreign shores. The list is long but it is easy to highlight a few.
David Silva, for example, was a moderate star in Spain. He was plying his trade for a decent Valencia side but was hardly considered the best midfielder in the division.
However, his arrival in England helped transform Manchester City from a team on the rise to a legitimate title contender and eventual champion. The playmaker was rewarded by being named Manchester City's player of the year his second season in the squad.
The list of such similar success is long.
Santi Cazorla helped Malaga to a champions league run two season ago—and was named Arsenal's player of the year his first season in the Premier League.
Michu, a relatively unknown quantity in La Liga, has enjoyed tremendous success with Swansea since his modest £2 million transfer in 2012.
Of the top 10 players in the Premier League this season as rated by WhoScored.com, three played in La Liga before arriving in England. From the top 10 passers in the division ranked by pass accuracy, four have played in Spain.
It seems that every summer La Liga empties its talent into new leagues, but miraculously, those spots are replenished the next time around.
When the league isn't busy shipping out elite talent to the rest of the globe, it is quickly bringing the best of the best to Spain.
Real Madrid and Barcelona have a reputation that is unmatched. Even when the sides are struggling—by their lofty standards—they can attract the hottest players on the planet through history and name alone.
The allure is nothing new, but has proven itself time and time again in recent times. The Galacticos will certainly be remembered as spectacular accumulation of individual talent. Prying the likes of Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham from their respective leagues is evidence of the club's true power.
Currently, Cristiano Ronaldo offers a prime example. The Portuguese winger had won everything at Manchester United. He was entering the prime of his career but seemed to outgrow Old Trafford. The only realistic destination for the player was La Liga.
Gareth Bale is no different. The brightest star of the Premier League a season ago, the bright lights of the Bernabeu were enough to wrestle the Welshman from England—even if it cost nearly £100 million.
The appeal of La Liga is one reason we will never see Messi in another division. Not only is Barcelona the perfect match for his character, but the Argentinian doesn't feel that there is a stronger league out there.
The importation of top talent looks set to continue. Neymar picked Spain over virtually any other destination in the world, and Madrid is consistently linked with the likes of Luis Suarez, reports Jack Wilson of the Daily Star.
The league has something special to it, and the world's best players seem to agree.
Enough skirting around the issue. La Liga is the best because it has the best.
Ronaldo and Messi have been on another level the past few seasons, and that alone has drawn attention to Spain.
The pair will no doubt go down in history among the best of all time, but to have both players in their prime simultaneously is something to behold. On top of their magical play, sublime skill and lightning pace, the two are scoring goals at a rate never seen before.
Both Ronaldo and Messi have averaged more than a goal per game the past three seasons, an unrivaled statistic. The two even broke the Liga goal record in consecutive seasons—as if trying to one-up the other.
We should not take this duo for granted. The fact that we get to watch these individuals square off several times a year is a blessing.
Ronaldo and Messi are the best players of their generation, and they've chosen La Liga as their division to dominate.
Last but not least are UEFA's own coefficient rankings. According to UEFA.com:
The associations' or country coefficient rankings are based on the results of each association's clubs in the five previous UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League seasons. The rankings determine the number of places allocated to an association in forthcoming UEFA club competition.
Spain sits top of the table, a confident title to be broadcast across all of Europe. No other country produces more successful club teams in international competition. They are truly the belle of the ball.
La Liga is the pinnacle of club football, with the best talent, the most competitive teams and a proven track record of success. UEFA's own metrics rank them top dog, but their are numerous other factors that contribute to the success of the Spanish top flight.