INTERNATIONAL SOCCER Spanish football continues to rule in Europe

Enrique Ortego


A month and a day after the Champions League final that put the end to the 2019-20 season, the European Super Cup between Bayern Munich and Sevilla is already on the horizon which opens the doors of the European competitions of the new 2020-21 academic year. Once again a Spanish team in a final, a situation that only comes to ratify the dominance exercised by the national clubs in these tournaments in which they dominate practically all the classifications both historical and more recent.

The disappointment suffered in the Champions League in the seven days between August 7 and 14 With the successive eliminations of Real Madrid (eighth) and Atlético and Barcelona (fourth), not even the forms and ways in which they occurred can serve to think that Spanish football has taken the first step of what could be classified as a crisis. It was the first time in 13 years that no LaLiga club qualified for the semi-finals, but what happened has more arguments to be considered as an accident than as the beginning of a decline.

There are also no weighty theses to even consider that it is the end of the cycle of overwhelming dominance of Spanish football. Sevilla showed their power in the Europa League by eliminating top rivals in the semifinals and the final: Manchester United and Inter Milan, while in the European Cup there was a replacement of champion, from Liverpool to Bayern. No hint of a change of powers. No other dominant country. The Premier who won the Champions League (Liverpool) and the Europa League (Chelsea) the previous year have not even been able to put together two consecutive years of titles.

“I don't think it can be determined that Spanish football is in crisis. Furthermore, Sevilla's title and how they got it should be enough to discard that thought”


Vicente del Bosque's experience as a player (champion of five Leagues and four cups); coach (two Champions and two Leagues) and selector (one World Cup and one European Championship) grants him the benefit of knowledge of the matter to judge the situation. “In football we are very given to sentences and drama, especially in defeats. What happened in the last Champions League has a lot to do with the situation we were or are experiencing. Everything influences. Nothing was normal. It was not a competition. to use and it seems to me more something specific and even temporary. I do not think it can be determined that Spanish football is in crisis. Furthermore, the title of Sevilla and how they got it should be enough to discard that thought. “

The former coach considers that the Spanish clubs, even before the National Team, have maintained a regularity worthy of praise. “If someone has been nervous when talking about a pothole, crisis or the end of the cycle, it is precisely because of the immediate past that we have had at the club level. We have set the trend with several teams, not just one. Real Madrid, Barça , Atlético, Sevilla … are guarantees to trust in our football. We must be benevolent with the circumstances. To those who sentence, I would remind them that Bayern, which has been European champion with solvency, in December was in crisis and even changed coach “.

Del Bosque understands that not even the defeat of Barcelona can be considered as a symptom of concern: “It was a very resounding result, it's true. You can lose, but maybe not that way. But it should be remembered that the championships are only won by one and everyone else loses and Spanish football has more than demonstrated its ability and he deserves to be given a confidence that goes beyond three bad games in the circumstances that were played. “

“Spanish football has more than demonstrated its ability and deserves to be granted a confidence that goes beyond three bad games in the circumstances that were played”

Del Bosque, on the last Champions

A review of the history of the different European competitions shows, emphatically, lhegemony of Spanish football in its different eras. Since the middle of the last century, when the continental tournaments were launched in this century, the last decade included.

Real Madrid tops the championship standings with 13 titles. Milan has seven, Bayern and Liverpool and Barcelona are six in five. The sum of the whites and Barça players also serves to lead by countries: 18 trophies for the 13 from England, 12 from Italy, eight from Germany and six from Holland. If only the competition is counted since it is considered Champions (92-93), Real Madrid (7 titles out of seven finals) and Barcelona (four out of five) also dominate, ahead of Milan and Bayern (three out of six each). By countries, 11 Spanish titles for the five Italians and English and the four Germans.

In the historical classification, counted the 65 editions, Real Madrid, in addition to its 13 titles, leads the table with 50 participations for a total of 439 games, 262 victories, 76 draws, 101 defeats, 973 goals for and 480 against. Bayern is second with 36 appearances (352/206/72/74/724/350) and Barcelona third with 30 appearances (319/188/73/58/635/312).

If only the Champions League statistics are taken into account, lThe two great Spanish clubs take the top two places, equal to participations, 24, and Madrid's advantage in titles, seven by four; in matches 267 by 257 matches and in victories 159 by 151. However, Barcelona has more draws 62 by 51 and fewer defeats 44 by 57. Atlético is the third Spanish club in this prestigious competition with 15 appearances.

Another Spanish club at the top. Sevilla with six trophies, doubles Atlético, Juve, Inter and Liverpool, three each. At the national level, the Spanish dozen, completed by the two UEFA Cups of Real Madrid and one of Valencia, surpass the nine wins for Italy, the eight for England and the six for Italy.

The controversial Cup of Cities in Fairs launched in 1955, just two weeks after the European Cup, is also conjugated in Spanish. This competition was born with the approval of FIFA and the rejection of UEFA until he was interested in assimilating it in 1971, registered Barcelona as the first champion (1955-58). Later the azulgranas added another two titles (1960 and 1966). Valencia also made a consecutive double (1962 and 1963) and Zaragoza (1964) took over. Six titles that exceed four of the English.

The European competition between the respective UEFA-affiliated Federations Cup champions started in the 1960-61 season and was assimilated by the UEFA Cup in the 98-99. There is also a Spanish reign, defended by Barcelona, ​​which accumulated four titles (1979, 82, 89 and 97) and two runners-up. Atlético (1962), Valencia (1980) and Zaragoza (1995) polish the national record, surpassed this time by the eight English titles. Their clubs always knew how to transfer to this second competition the historical tradition of their FA Cup, the longest running tournament in the history of football (1872).

The competition of champions. First, the defending champion of the European Cup against the Cup Winners' Cup and then against the winner of the UEFA Cup / Europa League. From 1973 to 1997 to a double game, from 98 to a single confrontation in a neutral field. Barcelona, ​​tied with Milan, once again defend the leadership of Spanish football with five titles. Real Madrid follows with four and Atlético, with three. Valencia with two and Sevilla with one, round out the dominance with a total of 15 titles and 12 runners-up, ahead of nine in Italy and eight in England. Sevilla can accentuate that Spanish dominance next Thursday.

In the scoring chapter, the two 'nationalized' are in command: Cristiano (131) and Messi (115). Raúl González remains third with his 71 goals

Top achievers

Also on an individual level, Spanish football maintains a clear European hegemony. In the competition par excellence, four of the house appear in the top ten in terms of the number of games played and it is topped off with two other players, Messi and Cristiano, who are 'almost' national products, especially in the case of the Argentine who has played all his matches as a Barcelona player. Iker Casillas leads the ranking in the history of the competition since 1955 with 181 matches (152 with Real Madrid and 29 with Porto). They are followed by Cristiano Ronaldo, 174 (101, Real Madrid, 56, Manchester United and 17, Juventus) and Xavi, 157. The other Top-10 venues are: Raúl, fifth, (144) and Iniesta, eighth (132). Messi is sixth with 143. In the scoring chapter the two 'nationalized' rule: Cristiano (131) and Messi (115). Raúl González remains third with his 71 goals ahead of the 68 of the Polish Lewandowski and the 65 of Benzema. Di Stéfano remains tenth in the ranking with his 49 goals.

The only player capable of winning six European Cups was born in Guarnizo (Cantabria), his name is Paco Gento and he played 18 seasons for Real Madrid. Five consecutive (1955-60), the first five, and the sixth six years later (65-66). With five titles there is also a Spanish majority: Di Stéfano, Rial, Marquitos, Juan Alonso, Santisteban, Lesmes and Zárraga. Cristiano, four at the Bernabéu and one Old Trafford, Maldini and Costacurta, both with Milan, complete the five-year period in their showcases. On the third step of the podium, with poker titles, also a large representation of our football, also with a turn of the century. In the XX they appear Santamaría, Mateos and Joseíto. And in the XXI, the whites share status with the Barcelona fans. From Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and Piqué (one with United) to Ramos, Bale, Benzema, Modric, Casemiro, Nacho, Carvajal, Isco, Varane and Kroos (one with Bayern).