Which domestic soccer league is the best in the world? An impossible question to answer, perhaps, but one that deserves some attention. There are several ways to go about judging a league and I will examine the top-to-bottom strength of each league rather than focus on just the best clubs.
English Premier League
This is the most popular league internationally. It has a long history and heritage that no other can match. It is an exciting league with speed and strength highly valued. Although the "Big 4"—Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool—have largely dominated the league, the beauty of the EPL is that all teams are capable of beating each other. Such parity is in evidence this season as there is an open fight for fourth and final Champions League spot. The English teams have dominated the Champions League in recent years, usually being well represented in the latter stages.
The beautiful game at its most artful! It is always enjoyable to watch a game where entertainment seen to be as important as results. The top Spanish league is also host to the biggest names in football, with players like Ronaldo, Messi and Kaka. The big names generally play for two teams: Real Madrid and Barcelona. Although some stars can be found elsewhere, like striker David Villa, the highest wattage players are located on the pitch for the two titans of the Spanish game. Sadly, the domination of Real Madrid and Barcelona is one of the more disappointing aspects of the league. The drop in quality as you move down the table hurts the league's appeal. Cheating also hurts the appeal with diving ever present. Some of the worst offenders ply their trade in Spain and continue to give the sport a bad name amongst outsiders.
Italian Serie A
Long considered one of the strongest leagues in the world, Serie A seems to be gradually declining. The players tend to be older than in Spain or England. The Italian game has also long been criticized for being too defensive. The build up is slow and the fans care more about results than good football. It's possible that this style and reliance on veteran players explains why Italy fares so well in the World Cup. Regardless, the leagues lack of style and pace has limited its popularity. In turn, this has meant that the top teams are far behind the other league's best when it comes to the amount of money they can offer top players. To make matters worse, a match fixing scandal rocked the Italian game a few years ago and the scars have yet to heal. What's left is a a good league that was once great.
"The most exciting league in the world" should be the slogan of the Bundesliga. With great crowds at every game and football talent rivaling the best leagues it is one of the fastest growing leagues in the world. The gap between powerhouse Bayern Munich and the rest has closed and there are now several teams in the running for the title every year. What does this mean? Football at its best with every team a threat. With an influx of international talent over the last few years the Bundesliga has continually grown worldwide. The main problem with the league is its failure to normally hold the very best players in the world. Most stars opt for a move, or at least try (Ribery comes to mind), when their contracts are up. However this doesn’t stop the league from being very attractive, especially to those who don’t have any particular interest in it other than football.
Well after this short analysis what do you make of it?
The EPL is fast and reliant on physical strength. La Liga is about style as much as winning. Serie A is a league which still has talent but is seeing it dry up more and more every year. The Bundesliga is arguably the most intriguing with a mixture of skill and speed with many teams capable lifting the trophy.
The best league depends on why you love football. I personally will always prefer the EPL because of the flash offered by foreign players (and increasingly by the English players) and the physicality by the homegrown stars.
But perhaps, I'm wrong. Maybe the Bundesliga reigns supreme? Does the Bundesliga have talent that can match the big leagues but with excitement that can't be matched by the others? Your call, either way football is well represented in all these leagues and many others.