La Liga

La Liga
Organising body Liga de Fútbol Profesional (LFP)
Founded 1929 (1929)
Country  Spain
Confederation UEFA
Number of teams 20
Level on pyramid 1
Relegation to Segunda División
Domestic cup(s) Copa del Rey
Supercopa de España
International cup(s) UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
Current champions Barcelona (25th title)
Most championships Real Madrid (33 titles)
Most appearances Andoni Zubizarreta (622)
Top goalscorer Lionel Messi (385 goals)
TV partners List of broadcasters
2018–19 La Liga

The Primera División,[lower-alpha 1] commonly known as La Liga[lower-alpha 2] and as La Liga Santander for sponsorship reasons with Santander,[1] is the men's top professional football division of the Spanish football league system. Administered by the Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (English: National Professional Football League), also known as the Liga de Fútbol Profesional (LFP), La Liga is contested by 20 teams, with the three lowest-placed teams relegated to the Segunda División and replaced by the top two teams in that division plus the winner of a play-off.

62 teams have competed in La Liga since its inception. Nine teams have been crowned champions, with Real Madrid winning the title a record 33 times and Barcelona 25 times. Barcelona won the inaugural La Liga in 1929 with Athletic Bilbao claiming several titles in the league's early years. Barcelona and Real Madrid dominated the championship in the 1950s, winning four La Liga titles each throughout the decade. Real Madrid dominated La Liga from the 1960s through the 1980s, when Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao, and Real Sociedad won the league twice in those years. From the 1990s onward, Barcelona has dominated La Liga, winning 15 titles. Although Real Madrid has been prominent, winning 8 titles, La Liga has also seen other champions, including Atlético Madrid, Valencia, and Deportivo de La Coruña. In the 2010s, Atlético Madrid has become an increasingly stronger team, forming a trio alongside Real Madrid and Barcelona.

According to UEFA's league coefficient, La Liga has been the top league in Europe over the last five years and has led Europe for more years (13) than any other country. It has also produced the continent's top-rated club more times (21) than any other league, more than double that of second-placed Serie A. Its clubs have won the most UEFA Champions League (18), UEFA Europa League (11), UEFA Super Cup (15), and FIFA Club World Cup (6) titles, and its players have accumulated the highest number of (FIFA) Ballon d'Or awards (19).

La Liga is one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world, with an average attendance of 26,983 for league matches in the 2017–18 season. This is the sixth-highest of any domestic professional sports league in the world and the third-highest of any professional association football league in the world, behind the Bundesliga, and the Premier League.[2][3]

Competition format

The competition format follows the usual double round-robin format. During the course of a season, which lasts from August to May, each club plays every other club twice, once at home and once away, for 38 matchdays. Teams receive three points for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, with the highest-ranked club at the end of the season crowned champion.

Promotion and relegation

A system of promotion and relegation exists between the Primera División and the Segunda División. The three lowest placed teams in La Liga are relegated to the Segunda División, and the top two teams from the Segunda División promoted to La Liga, with an additional club promoted after a series of play-offs involving the third, fourth, fifth and sixth placed clubs. Below is a complete record of how many teams played in each season throughout the league's history;

Number of clubs in La Liga throughout the years
Period (in years) No. of clubs
1929–1934 10 clubs
1934–1941 12 clubs
1941–1950 14 clubs
1950–1971 16 clubs
1971–1987 18 clubs
1987–1995 20 clubs
1995–1997 22 clubs
1997–present 20 clubs

Ranking of clubs on equal points

If points are equal between two or more clubs, the rules are:[4]

  • If all clubs involved have played each other twice:
    • If the tie is between two clubs, then the tie is broken using the goal difference for the two matches those clubs have played against each other (without away goals rule)
    • If the tie is between more than two clubs, then the tie is broken using the games the clubs have played against each other:
      • a) head-to-head points
      • b) head-to-head goal difference
      • c) total goal difference
  • If two legged games between all clubs involved have not been played, or the tie is not broken by the rules above, it is broken using:
    • a) total goal difference
    • b) total goals scored
  • If the tie is still not broken, the winner will be determined by Fair Play scales.[5] These are:
    • yellow card, 1 point
    • doubled yellow card/ejection, 2 points
    • direct red card, 3 points
    • suspension or disqualification of coach, executive or other club personnel (outside referees' decisions), 5 points
    • misconduct of the supporters: mild 5 points, serious 6 points, very serious 7 points
    • stadium closure, 10 points
    • if the Competition Committee removes a penalty, the points are also removed
  • If the tie is still not broken, it will be resolved with a tie-break match in a neutral stadium.

Qualifying for European competitions

The top teams in La Liga qualify for the UEFA Champions League. The first, second, third and fourth placed teams directly enter the group stage of UEFA Champions League. Teams placed fifth and sixth play in the UEFA Europa League, along with the cup winners. If the cup winners finish in the top six, an additional berth in the Europa League is given to the team that finishes in seventh.



In April 1927, José María Acha, a director at Arenas Club de Getxo, first proposed the idea of a national league in Spain. After much debate about the size of the league and who would take part, the Real Federación Española de Fútbol eventually agreed on the ten teams who would form the first Primera División in 1929. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Arenas Club de Getxo and Real Unión were all selected as previous winners of the Copa del Rey. Atlético Madrid, Espanyol and Europa qualified as Copa del Rey runners-up and Racing de Santander qualified through a knockout competition. Only three of the founding clubs, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao, have never been relegated from the Primera División.

The 1930s: Athletic Bilbao

Although Barcelona won the very first Liga in 1929 and Real Madrid won their first titles in 1932 and 1933, it was Athletic Bilbao that set the early pace winning Primera División in 1930, 1931, 1934 and 1936. They were also runners-up in 1932 and 1933. In 1935, Real Betis, then known as Betis Balompié, won their only title to date. Primera División was suspended during the Spanish Civil War.

In 1937, the teams in the Republican area of Spain, with the notable exception of the two Madrid clubs, competed in the Mediterranean League and Barcelona emerged as champions. Seventy years later, on 28 September 2007, Barcelona requested the RFEF to recognise that title as a Liga title. This action was taken after RFEF was asked to recognise Levante FC's Copa de la España Libre win as equivalent to Copa del Rey trophy. Nevertheless, the governing body of Spanish football has not made an outright decision yet.

The 1940s: Atlético de Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona

When the Primera División resumed after the Spanish Civil War, it was Atlético Aviación (nowadays Atlético Madrid), Valencia, and FC Barcelona that emerged as the strongest clubs. Atlético were only awarded a place during the 1939–40 season as a replacement for Real Oviedo, whose ground had been damaged during the war. The club subsequently won their first Liga title and retained it in 1941. While other clubs lost players to exile, execution, and as casualties of the war, the Atlético team was reinforced by a merger. The young, pre-war squad of Valencia had also remained intact and in the post-war years matured into champions, gaining three Liga titles in 1942, 1944, and 1947. They were also runners-up in 1948 and 1949. Sevilla also enjoyed a brief golden era, finishing as runners-up in 1940 and 1942 before winning their only title to date in 1946.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Spain, FC Barcelona began to emerge as a force under the legendary Josep Samitier. A Spanish footballer for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, Samitier cemented his legacy with Barcelona. During his playing career with Barcelona, he scored 333 goals, won the inaugural La Liga title and five Copa Del Rey. In 1944, Samitier returned to Barcelona as a coach and guided them in winning their second La Liga title in 1945. Under Samitier and legendary players Cesar Rodriguez, Josep Escola, Estanislau Basora and Mariano Gonzalvo, Barcelona dominated La Liga in the late 1940s, winning back to back La Liga titles in 1948 and 1949. The 1940s proved to be a successful season for Barcelona, winning three La Liga titles and one Copa Del Rey, but the 1950s proved to be a decade of dominance, not just from Barcelona, but from Real Madrid.

1950s: Barcelona and Real Madrid Dominate La Liga

Although Atlético Madrid, previously known as Atlético Aviación, were champions in 1950 and 1951 under catenaccio mastermind Helenio Herrera, the 1950s continued the success FC Barcelona had during the late 1940s after they had won back to back La Liga titles. During this decade, Barcelona's first golden era emerged. Under coach Ferdinand Daučík, FC Barcelona won back to back doubles, winning La Liga and Copa Del Rey in 1952 and 1953. In 1952, FC Barcelona made history yet again by winning five distinctive trophies in one year. This team, composed of László Kubala, Mariano Gonzalvo, Cesar Rodriguez and Joan Segarra won La Liga, Copa Del Rey, Copa Eva Duarte (predecessor of Spanish Super Cup), The Latin Cup and The Copa Martini Rossi. Their success in winning five different trophies in one year earned them the name 'L’equip de les cinc Copes' or The Team of The Five Cups. In the latter parts of the 1950s, coached by Helenio Herrera and featuring Luis Suárez, Barcelona won yet again their third set of back to back La Ligas, winning them in 1959 and 1960. In 1959, FC Barcelona also won another double of La Liga / Copa Del Rey, conquering three doubles in the 1950s.

The 1950s also saw the beginning of the Real Madrid dominance. During the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, there were strict limits imposed on foreign players. In most cases, clubs could only have three foreign players in their squads, meaning that at least eight local players had to play in every game. During the 1950s, however, these rules were circumvented by Real Madrid who naturalized Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás. Di Stéfano, Puskás, Raymond Kopa and Francisco Gento formed the nucleus of the Real Madrid team that dominated the second half of the 1950s. Madrid won the first division in 1954, 21 years later since 1933, and retained its title in 1955. They were winners again in 1957 and 1958, with only Athletic Bilbao interrupting their sequence. All in all, Barcelona and Real Madrid won 4 La Liga titles each, with Atletico De Madrid and Atletico De Bilbao winning one each during this decade.

The 1960s–1980s: The Real Madrid years

Between 1961 and 1980, Real Madrid dominated the Primera División, being crowned champions 14 times, including five-in-a-row from 1961 to 1965 and two three-in-a-row sequences (1967–1969 and 1978–1980). However, their only European Cup triumph during this period came in 1966, a sharp contrast to their five successive victories in the competition from 1956.

During this era, only Atlético Madrid offered Real Madrid any serious challenge, adding four more titles to their tally in 1966, 1970, 1973, and 1977. Of the other clubs, only Valencia in 1971 and the Johan Cruyff-inspired Barcelona of 1974 broke the dominance of Real Madrid.

The Madrid winning sequence was interrupted more significantly in 1981 when Real Sociedad won their first-ever title. They retained it in 1982, and their two in a row was followed by fellow Basque team Athletic Bilbao, who won back-to-back titles in 1983 and 1984. Terry Venables led Barcelona to a solitary title in 1985 before Real Madrid put together another five in a row sequence (1986–1990) with a team guided by Leo Beenhakker and including Hugo Sánchez and the legendary La Quinta del BuitreEmilio Butragueño, Manolo Sanchís, Martín Vázquez, Míchel and Miguel Pardeza.

The 1990s: Barcelona's dream team

Johan Cruyff returned to Barcelona as manager in 1988, and assembled the legendary Dream Team. When Cruyff took hold of this Barcelona side they had only won two La Liga title in the past 11 years. Cruyff, who knew the history of FC Barcelona as a player, did not want history to repeat itself. He decided to build a team composed of international stars and La Masia graduates in order to restore Barcelona to their former glorious days. This team was formed by international stars such as Brazilian legend Romario, Denmark’s magician Michael Laudrup, Bulgarian forward Hristo Stoichkov, Dutchman Ronald Koeman, and Spaniards Andoni Zubizarreta and Jose Mari Bakero. Cruyff’s Dream Team also consisted of La Masia graduates Pep Guardiola, Albert Ferrer, and Guillermo Amor.

Johan Cruyff changed the way modern football was played and incorporated the principles of ‘Total Football’ into this team. The success of possession-based football was revolutionary and Johan Cruyff’s team won their first European Cup in 1992 and four consecutive La Liga titles between 1991 and 1994. In total, Cruyff won 11 trophies in eight years, making him the most successful manager in Barcelona’s history until the record was broken by his protege Pep Guardiola two decades later.

Barcelona's run ended with Real Madrid winning La Liga in 1995. Atlético Madrid won their ninth Primera División title in 1996 before Real Madrid added another Liga trophy to their cabinet in 1997. After the success of Cruyff, another Dutchman – Ajax manager Louis van Gaal – arrived at the Camp Nou, and with the talents of Luís Figo, Luis Enrique, and Rivaldo, Barcelona won La Liga title in 1998 and 1999, which included their fourth double of Liga and Copa Del Rey in 1998.

The 2000s

As Primera División entered a new century, the two giants of Spain, Real Madrid and Barcelona, found themselves facing new challengers. Between 1999/00 and 2004, Deportivo La Coruña finished in the top three on ten occasions, a better record than either Real Madrid or Barcelona, and in 2000, under Javier Irureta, Deportivo became the ninth team to be crowned champions. Valencia were also a fierce team in the 2000s and under the management of Héctor Cúper, Valencia finished as Champions League runners-up in 2000 and 2001. His successor, Rafael Benítez, built on this and led the club to a Liga title in 2002, as well as winning the UEFA Cup and La Liga in 2004.

Real Madrid won two Liga titles in 2001 and 2003 and also the UEFA Champions League in 2000 and 2002. With world-class players like Raúl, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Gonzalo Higuaín, Real Madrid won back-to-back La Liga titles in 2006–07 and 2007–08. All in all, Madrid won 4 La Liga's and two champions league from 2000-2010.

The 2000s also continued the success of FC Barcelona. In the 2004–05 season, Barcelona won their first title of the new century under the brilliance of Ronaldinho. Barcelona retained the title and won it again in the 2005-2006 season, as well as winning the UEFA Champions League against Arsenal, achieving their second European Double. Under the era of Pep Guardiola, powered by La Masia's talent, such as Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona added three straight Liga titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010. FC Barcelona also became the first team in Spain to achieve the Treble in the 2008/09 season, winning all three major competitions in a single season consisting of La Liga, Copa Del Rey and the Champions League. From 2000-2010, FC Barcelona won 5 La Liga titles and 3 Champions League.

The 2010s

In the 2011–12 season, Real Madrid won its 32nd title under the management of José Mourinho with a then record-breaking 100 points, a then record of 118 number of goals scored, most overall (32) and away (16) wins in a single season in La Liga. A year later, Barcelona replicated the same feat under coach Tito Vilanova matching the 100-point record. Atlético Madrid won the 2013–14 title, their first in 18 years, and the first title in ten years that Real Madrid or Barcelona had not won.

In the 2014–15 season, under the deadly trio of Messi, Neymar, Suarez, nicknamed the 'MSN', Barcelona made history by becoming the first team to achieve a second Treble. The 'MSN' hit a record breaking 122 goals, eclipsing the 118 goals scored by Madrid in the 2011–12 season. Barcelona continued the dominance in the 2015–16 season, winning the Liga/Copa Del Rey double resulting in 4 titles in 6 years.

Real Madrid brought back the La Liga title under the management of Zinedine Zidane in 2016–17, but Barcelona won the title in the 2017–18 season, as well as winning their eighth double, for a total of 7 La Liga titles in 10 years.


Location of Madrid teams in 2018–19 La Liga

20 teams contest the league in its current season, including the top 17 sides from the 2017–18 season and three promoted from the 2017–18 Segunda División. Rayo Vallecano and Huesca are the two clubs promoted directly from the second division, and the winner of the play-offs, Valladolid.

Stadiums and locations

Team Location Stadium Capacity
Alavés Vitoria-Gasteiz Mendizorrotza 19,840[6]
Athletic Bilbao Bilbao San Mamés 53,289[7]
Atlético Madrid Madrid Wanda Metropolitano 67,703[8]
Barcelona Barcelona Camp Nou 99,354[9]
Celta Vigo Vigo Balaídos 29,000[10]
Eibar Eibar Ipurua 7,083[11]
Espanyol Barcelona RCDE Stadium 40,500[12]
Getafe Getafe Coliseum Alfonso Pérez 17,393[13]
Girona Girona Montilivi 13,500[14]
Huesca Huesca El Alcoraz 5,500[15]
Leganés Leganés Butarque 11,454[16]
Levante Valencia Ciutat de València 26,354[17]
Rayo Vallecano Madrid Vallecas 14,708
Real Betis Seville Benito Villamarín 60,720[18]
Real Madrid Madrid Santiago Bernabéu 81,044[19]
Real Sociedad San Sebastián Anoeta 25,000[20]
Sevilla Seville Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán 42,500[21]
Valencia Valencia Mestalla 55,000[22]
Valladolid Valladolid José Zorrilla 26,512[23]
Villarreal Villarreal Estadio de la Cerámica 23,500[24]

La Liga clubs in Europe

The Primera División is currently first in the UEFA rankings of European leagues based on their performances in European competitions over a five-year period, ahead of England's Premier League, Italy's Serie A, and Germany's Bundesliga in fourth.[25]

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia are in the top ten most successful clubs in European football in terms of total European trophies. These three clubs, along with Sevilla and Atlético Madrid, are five of the most successful teams in European competition history; these five are the only Spanish clubs to have won five or more international trophies. Deportivo La Coruña are the sixth-most participating Spanish team in the Champions League — after Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla FC — with five Champions League appearances in a row, including a semifinal appearance in 2003–04.[26]

In 2005–06, Barcelona won the Champions League and Sevilla won the UEFA Cup, making the La Liga the first league to do the European "double" since 1997. On 25 August 2015, La Liga became the first league to classify five teams for the UEFA Champions League group stage (Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Sevilla and Valencia).


Performance by club

Performance by individual clubs in Primera División
Teams Winners Runners-up Winning seasons
Real Madrid
1931–32, 1932–33, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1956–57, 1957–58, 1960–61, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1971–72, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1977–78, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1994–95, 1996–97, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2011–12, 2016–17
1929, 1944–45, 1947–48, 1948–49, 1951–52, 1952–53, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1973–74, 1984–85, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2017–18
Atlético Madrid
1939–40, 1940–41, 1949–50, 1950–51, 1965–66, 1969–70, 1972–73, 1976–77, 1995–96, 2013–14
Athletic Bilbao
1929–30, 1930–31, 1933–34, 1935–36, 1942–43, 1955–56, 1982–83, 1983–84
1941–42, 1943–44, 1946–47, 1970–71, 2001–02, 2003–04
Real Sociedad
1980–81, 1981–82
Deportivo La Coruña
Real Betis

Performance comparison

     League champions
     Champions League
     Europa League

All-time La Liga table

The All-time La Liga table[27] is an overall record of all match results, points, and goals of every team that has played in La Liga since its inception in 1929. The table is accurate as of the end of the 2017–18 season.[28] Teams in bold are part of the 2018–19 La Liga.

All-time La Liga table
Pos Team S Pts GP W D L GF GA 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th T Debut Since/
Last App
1Real Madrid86446128001669562569604131843323983480192919291
3Atlético Madrid81352126521264608780459233311010169765719292002–031
5Athletic Bilbao86341128001219646935467237498710581049192919291
8Real Sociedad7126222340878584878329432892325431919292010–111
10Real Betis52194517666244466962222255212345151932–332015–161
11Deportivo La Coruña46184315685694035962090226915411121941–422017–181
12Celta Vigo521838173659939973823372685245111939–402012–134
14Racing Santander4414161428453336639184323681121519292011–122
15Sporting Gijón4313891458471358629175321521122171944–452016–172
20Las Palmas3410421134372249513137118201111151951–522017–182
23Rayo Vallecano1766265218914830576010881977–782015–168
42Burgos CF61682045950952163101971–721979–8012
46Real Burgos3961142644441011391990–911992–939
53Real Unión456722114371531841119291931–326
54AD Almería25268171833711161979–801980–8110
60Atlético Tetuán11930751851851951–521951–5216
61Cultural Leonesa11430542134651955–561955–5615
    • Note: Despite finishing the season in the 13th position in the 2014-15 La Liga, on 5 June, Elche was relegated to Segunda División due to its financial struggles, Newcomers Eibar, who finished the season in the 18th position, took Elche's place in 2015–16 La Liga.
League or status for 2018–19 season
2018–19 La Liga
2018–19 Segunda División
2018–19 Segunda División B
2018–19 Tercera División
2018–19 Divisiones Regionales
To be determined
No longer exists

All-time La Liga table (3 pts. since 1995)

All-time La Liga table (wins, 3 points)
Pos Team GP W D L GD Pts
1FC Barcelona8825991751391.2011.879
2Real Madrid CF8825611661551.0411.849
3Valencia CF8824182072573641.461
4Atlético de Madrid8063851922293811.347
5Athletic Club882327242313-291.223
6Sevilla FC7683251772661301.152
7RCD Espanyol882300237345-1121.137
8Deportivo de La Coruña806302227277121.133
9Real Sociedad768282202284-11.048
10Villarreal CF6842841792211101.031
11Real Betis730251206273-102959
12Celta de Vigo654241168245-8891
13RCD Mallorca608226151231-39829
14Málaga CF646208165273-121789
15Real Zaragoza616191181244-114754
16Racing de Santander616175184257-181709
17CA Osasuna570172153245-183669
18Real Valladolid CF540161159220-139642
19Getafe CF494162122210-104608
20Rayo Vallecano42613683207-211491
21Levante UD38010696178-189414
22Deportivo Alavés30410565134-88380
23R. Sporting3508979182-209346
24CD Tenerife236726599-68281
25Real Oviedo2366669101-98267
26UD Almería2286256110-123242
27Granada CF2285651121-172219
28UD Las Palmas190494497-109191
29SD Eibar152493667-34183
31SD Compostela122413348-30156
32CD Numancia152373778-98148
34UD Salamanca118272467-66105
35CF Extremadura80202337-5583
36CP Mérida80192437-4581
37Elche CF76202135-4781
38CD Leganés76201838-3678
39Hércules CF80211346-6176
40Real Murcia CF76122044-5756
41Girona FC3814915-951
42Cádiz CF3881218-1636
43Xerez CD3881020-2834
44CD Logroñés429627-5233
46Córdoba CF3831124-4620


Eligibility of non-EU players

In La Liga, players can claim citizenship from the nation their ancestors came from. If a player does not have European ancestry, he can claim Spanish citizenship after playing in Spain for five years. Sometimes, this can lead to a triple-citizenship situation; for example, Leo Franco, who was born in Argentina, is of Italian heritage yet can claim a Spanish passport, having played in La Liga for over five years.

In addition, players from the ACP countries — countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific that are signatories to the Cotonou Agreement — are not counted against non-EU quotas due to the Kolpak ruling.

Individual awards

Until the season 2008–09, no official awards for individuals in La Liga existed. Following the 2008–09 season, the Liga de Fútbol Profesional (LFP) governing body sanctioned LFP Awards to player individuals. Additional awards relating to La Liga are distributed, some are sanctioned by the LFP or the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and therefore not regarded as official.

The most notable of these are four awarded by Spain's biggest sports paper, Marca, namely the Pichichi Trophy, awarded to the top scorer of the season; the Ricardo Zamora Trophy for the goalkeeper with the least "goals-to-games" ratio; the Trofeo Alfredo di Stéfano, for the player judged to be the best overall player in the division; and the Zarra Trophy, awarded to the Spanish domestic player with the highest goal total in La Liga.

Since the 2013–14 season, La Liga also awards the monthly manager of the month and player of the month awards.


The first La Liga player to be involved in a transfer which broke the world record was Luis Suárez in 1961, who moved from Barcelona to Internazionale for £152,000. Twelve years later, Johan Cruyff was the first player to join a La Liga club for a record fee, £922,000 from Ajax to Barcelona. In 1982, Barcelona again set the record by signing Diego Maradona from Boca Juniors for £5 million.[30] Real Betis set the world record in 1998 when they signed Denílson from São Paulo for £21.5 million.[31]

Four of the last six world transfer records (in euro) have been set by Real Madrid, signing Luís Figo,[32] Zinedine Zidane,[33] Cristiano Ronaldo[34] (plus a deal for Kaká days before Ronaldo[35] which fell just below a world record due to the way the fee was calculated)[36] and finally Gareth Bale, who was bought for £85.3 million (€103.4 million / $140 million) from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013.[37]

The Brazilian forward Neymar was the subject of an expensive and complicated transfer arrangement when he joined Barcelona from Santos in 2013,[38][39] and his outgoing transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 set a new world record fee at €222m (via his 'buyout clause').[40] Barcelona soon invested a large chunk of this money in a replacement, Ousmane Dembélé, whose deal – €105m – was the second most expensive ever before Philippe Coutinho's transfer to Barcelona for €142m.[41] [42]

Player records

Most goals

As of matches played 29 April 2018
Rank Nat Name Club Years Goals Apps Ratio
1 Lionel Messi Barcelona 2004–3854190.92
2 Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid 2009–20183112921.07
3 Telmo Zarra Athletic Bilbao 1940–19552512780.9
4 Hugo Sánchez Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid & Rayo Vallecano 1981–19942343470.67
5 Raúl Real Madrid 1994–20102285500.41
6 Alfredo Di Stéfano Real Madrid & Espanyol 1953–19662273290.69
7 César Rodríguez Granada, Barcelona, Cultural Leonesa & Elche 1939–19552233530.63
8 Quini Sporting Gijón & Barcelona 1970–19872194480.49
9 Pahiño Celta, Real Madrid & Deportivo 1943–19562102780.76
10 Edmundo Suárez Valencia & Alcoyano 1939–19501952310.84

Most appearances

As of 16 May 2016
Rank Nat Name Years Apps Goals
1 Andoni Zubizarreta 1981–19986220
2 Raúl 1994–2010550228
3 Eusebio Sacristán 1983–200254336
4 Francisco Buyo 1980–19975420
5 Manuel Sanchís 1983–200152332
6 Iker Casillas 1999–20155100
7 Xavi 1998–201550558
8 Miquel Soler 1983–200350412
9 Fernando Hierro 1987–2003497104
10 José Mari Bakero 1980–1997483139


See also


  1. Spanish: [pɾiˈmeɾa ðiβiˈsjon]; "First Division"
  2. /læ ˈlɡə/, Spanish: [la ˈliɣa]; "The League"


  1. "LaLiga and Santander strike title sponsorship deal". LaLiga. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  2. "Attendances in India, China and the USA catching up with the major European leagues". World Soccer. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  3. "European football statistics". 2008.
  4. "Reglamento General de la RFEF 2010 (Artículo 201.2) (page 138)" (PDF) (in Spanish). RFEF. 7 June 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  5. "Criterios de puntuación del juego limpio" (in Spanish). RFEF. 30 October 1998. Archived from the original on 7 April 2010. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
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