Spanish La Liga

La Liga (Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División) is the name of the Spanish football league and has existed since 1929. The top division is called Primera División (which is commonly referred to La Liga) and the second is called Segunda División. Since 1997 are 20 clubs participating in the top league of La Liga.


The first football league in Spain was The Catalan football championship (Campionat de Catalunya), established in 1901. After the creation of the La Liga, The Catalan football championship co-existed with the national league for some years until it was cancelled in 1940.

La Liga was the first national football league in Spain and founded in 1929 (the first season started in February that year and ended in June). At this time, it consisted of one division, Primera División, and contained ten clubs. The numbers of clubs would expand at several occasions. In 1987, it reached 20 clubs and that have remained except a short period (1995-1997) with 22 clubs.

League system

The first and second division was founded together in 1929. In 1977, Segunda División B, was founded to replace Tercera División as the third tier. Tercera División has since that been the fourth tier. An overview of the current national league system is presented in the table below.

Table 1. Spanish football tiers
Club Tier
Primera División (La Liga) 1
Segunda División 2
Segunda División B 3
Tercera División 4

Below the forth tier the national football is played with regional divisions.

Qualification for European Cups

The top four teams in La Liga are qualified for the Champions League and the team that is placed fifth will get the chance to play in Europa League (one place also goes to the winner of the Copa del Rey).


The three teams placed at the bottom of the table (places 18-20) is relegated to Segunda División.



Teams with most titles

Statistics of all Spanish clubs that have won the top division once or more, concerning the period 1929-2018.

Table 2. Clubs and La Liga titles
Club Titles
Real Madrid 33
Barcelona 25
Atlético Madrid 10
Athletic Bilbao 8
Valencia 6
Real Sociedad 2
Real Betis 1
Sevilla 1
Deportivo La Coruña 1

Real Madrid and Barcelona has been dominated Spanish club football. Between the first season in 1929 to season 2017-2018 they won together 58 of the 87 possible trophies.

Teams with most La Liga participation

Statistics of the Spanish clubs that have participated over 50 times in the Primera División during the period 1929-2018.

Table 3. Clubs and league participation
Club Participation
Real Madrid 86
Barcelona 86
Athletic Bilbao 86
Valencia 83
Espanyol 83
Atlético Madrid 81
Sevilla 74
Real Sociedad 71
Zaragoza 58
Real Betis 52
Celta Vigo 52

Between the first season and season 2018-2019, in total 63 clubs has participating in top division of the Spanish league.


Capacity of La Liga stadiums

The table shows the capacity of the clubs participating in La Liga. Camp Nou, where both Barcelona plays, has the highest capacity with almost 100,000 seats. The average capacity in the league is 36,104.

Table 4. The stadium capacities in the La Liga season 2018-2019
Team Stadium name Capacity
Alavés Mendizorrotza 19,840
Athletic Bilbao San Mamés 53,289
Atlético Madrid Wanda Metropolitano 67,703
Barcelona Camp Nou 99,354
Celta Vigo Balaídos 29,000
Eibar Ipurua 7,083
Espanyol RCDE Stadium 40,500
Getafe Coliseum Alfonso Pérez 17,393
Girona Montilivi 13,500
Huesca El Alcoraz 7,638
Leganés Butarque 11,454
Levante Ciutat de València 26,354
Rayo Vallecano Vallecas 14,708
Real Betis Benito Villamarín 60,720
Real Madrid Santiago Bernabéu 81,044
Real Sociedad Anoeta 25,000
Sevilla Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán 42,500
Valencia Mestalla 55,000
Valladolid José Zorrilla 26,512
Villarreal Estadio de la Cerámica 23,500


Top goalscorers

The league's all-time leading goalscorer is Lionel Messi who has (in Mars 2019) made 412 goals in Barcelona. On the second place is Cristiano Ronaldo who did 311 goals in Real Madrid in 292 appearances (a goal ratio record in the league).

Other notable goalscorer in the league are Hugo Sánches (234 goals for Real Madrid 1981-1994), Raúl (228 goals for Real Madrid 1994-2010), and Alfredo Di Stéfano (227 goals for Real Madrid 1953-1966).

Players with most appearances

The player with most appearances is the national team goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta. He played most of his matches in FC Barcelona and in total he did 622 La Liga appearances. Next to him is the Real Madrid player Raúl who made 550 matches.

By Oscar Anderson


Image source:
Roberto Vicario