LaLiga Santander No longer top dogs in Europe
Sevilla, Barcelona and Real Sociedad were thrashed this week in Europe and their devastating results have urged many to question the quality of LaLiga Santander this season.
World class players such as Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland may be linked with Spanish clubs, yet their main issue is not the lack of talent, but the loss of a football identity.
LaLiga Santander powerhouses no longer dominate games and have failed this season to impose their game on their opponents in Europe.
The one-touch game has been lost and teams have been struggling when it comes to being lethal in front of goal in 2020/21.
In fact, as many as eight LaLiga Santander sides have fewer scored fewer goals than matches played this season, while in Serie A, only Parma have netted less than one goal per game (15 goals in 22 duels).
Spanish teams lack fluidity, produce fewer passes, create fewer chances and net fewer goals than the rest in Europe and this becomes evident when they are called to play in the Champions League or Europa League.
LaLiga Santander sides score on average a mere 2.52 goals per match, which is the lowest figure amongst the major five leagues.
Bundesliga tops the charts with 3.05 goals per game, followed by Serie A (three per match), Ligue 1 (2.73) and the Premier League (2.72).
From the 2013/14 campaign until 2017/2018, when Real Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla dominated in Europe, LaLiga Santander sides scored over 1,000 goals per season.
This figure has been dropping since, while this year it is estimated that they will reach 958 goals, based on the current scoring rate.
No league registers fewer shots, assists, dribble attempts, counterattacks and passes than LaLiga Santander, which comes second in game interruptions, with almost 27 fouls per game.
LaLiga Santander is the league whose teams have spent less than all the rest of the major five after the COVID-19 outbreak.
In addition to the lack of imported talent, homegrown players have left the country to ply their trade to other leagues in Europe.
David De Gea, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Sergio Reguilon, Rodri Hernandez, Thiago Alcantara, Dani Olmo, Fabian Ruiz, Ferran Torres and Alvaro Morata are just some of the Spain internationals who no longer feature for a Spanish club.
To put it in context, from the 23 players called up by Luis Aragones for the 2008 European Championship, only four played abroad: Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso, Cesc Fabregas and Pepe Reina.
Meanwhile, only three players of the team who won the 2010 World Cup played elsewhere in Europe: Torres, Fabregas and Reina.
Two years later, Spain dominated the 2012 European Championship with Torres, Juan Mata, Savid Silva and Reina being the only members of the squad who didn’t feature in LaLiga Santander.
This season, all three top Spanish scorers in the Champions League – Morata, Ferran Torres and Angelino – play abroad.
Barcelona and Real Sociedad will not have an easy task in their attempt to turn around their ties against Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, respectively.
Meanwhile, Mbappe and Haaland could feature as main transfer targets for Spanish football powerhouses, but the issues of LaLiga Santander seem to go deeper than the lack of superstars.