Is There Such A Thing As The Best League in the World?


Forget the nervy, negative ordeal that was Manchester United versus Chelsea; the Premier League can still lay claim to being the most compelling top flight division in the world.

Honest, fast and frenetic, the emphasis is still (usually) on attack and that’s why everybody wants to watch it and talk about it. Rich in cash and excitement, the Premier League remains an undeniably popular and brilliant product.

But is English football’s pride and joy genuinely the BEST league on the planet?

Having perused Unibet's wondeful new #BestLeagueInTheWorld infographic, I must say I’m not entirely convinced.

How can it be, when the two greatest footballers in the world choose to ply their trade in Spain? The transfers of Neymar and Gareth Bale only add weight to the argument that when it comes to clout, Madrid and Barcelona are streets ahead. They are the two most powerful clubs on earth by some distance; paying the highest wages, accruing the finest players.

In the prestigious Balon D’Or for example, 21 of the last 30 top three ranked stars in European football have been playing for Barca or Real Madrid when nominated. Only Thierry Henry, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Cristiano Ronaldo made the shortlist as Premier League players during the same period. United’s Ronaldo, was the solitary winner.

Professional footballers perceive Spain as the destination for their elite too. During the last eight years, FIFPro’s members have voted for their team of the year and 60 per cent of picks have been La Liga stars. Less than a quarter came from the Premier League, the most watched league in the world by far.

Elsewhere on the continent, Italy and Germany may feel they have a case to put forward as the best, but their arguments contain too many obvious flaws.

Italian football is blessed with great tradition but it’s still fighting back from disgrace. There are green shoots of recovery, but Serie A remains a division that still has work to do on and off the pitch before it can claim to be top of the pile.

Last season’s Champions League final boasted two Bundesliga clubs, and that’s an achievement not to be sniffed at. According to Unibet's infographic, on average German football also attracts more supporters to its stadiums than anyone else, and as youi can see below, it provides the greatest value of money.

However, interest beyond Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund from a global perspective, remains slight at best. It’s a league crying out for greater strength in depth.

So, Spain has the finest talent but lacks competition. Italy has great tradition but needs to get its house in order, Germany is embracing the modern game in the most efficient manner but lacks broader appeal, while the Premier League is the largest when it comes to interest, revenue and excitement on the pitch, but falls short on individual quality of the very highest order.

What each provides with one hand, it takes away with the other.

So while Unibet's new infographic goes a a long way towards answering many of the questions that regularly crop up in pubs, clubs and terraces across the world, the notion of which is the world's best league? remains a matter of personal opinion, and as such one of football's most hotly debated topics.

Besides, if you can’t define any of them as the best; there is probably no such thing.

Former Arsenal midfielder Adrian Clarke writes an exclusive column every Thursday, here at bet.unibet.com. 

Click here to check out the whole of Unibet's new #BestLeagueInTheWorld infographic.