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Which is the strongest league out of the big five?

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 6,784

Pin The ELO value for each of the top five European leagues is analysed. BeSoccer
The ELO value for each of the top five European leagues is analysed. BeSoccer

Which is the strongest league out of the big five?

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 6,784

The latest ProFootballDB study includes a look at the level of talent there is in LaLiga, Premier League, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A. The English league leads the way as many of us thought. 7 of the best 18 footballers in the world play there.

We always say that the top five leagues are those which lead the way. In Europe and the whole of the footballing world. And many people in Spain always said that La Liga is the best league in the world. But that has changed. In fact, we are in the middle of an era of Premier League domination. 

Once again we resort to ProFootballDB's scientific data to exaime the indicators of this new reality. Let us begin with the ELO, a value which is used more and more in statistical studies to lay down the foundations of the study. It is a tool which measures the quality of players based on several variables (goals, assists, quality of opponents, difficulty of competitions, fitness). 

Another thing about the ELO is that it updates daily. Bearing in mind that factor and that only the Bundesliga is currently in play, the updated results show that the Premier League dominates with a value of 71.17; that is where most of the footballing talent is based. La Liga, which has fallen off top spot in recent years, is less than two points behind (69.74). Serie A (67.84) is in third.

Ligue 1, generally considered to be the weakest of the five is only 0.54 points behind the Italian league on 67.3. That is largely due to the amount of stars PSG have signed in recent years. Bundesliga (66.32) is considered the worst of the five. 

One, two, three horse races

In modern football, the terms one, two or three horse race have been used to mention leagues where the same teams always win the league. Celtic and Rangers used to nearly always win it in Scotland (now it is just Celtic in recent years). In the Bundesliga, Bayern are close to winning it for the eighth year in a row and in Ligue 1, PSG have won seven of the last eight. In Italy, Juve have won the last eight Serie A leagues and they will begin top when it restarts.

La Liga does not fare much better as apart from Atletico's title in 2013-14, La Liga has always been won by Barcelona or Real Madrid in the last 14 years. 

The Premier League sees the most varied winner with Liverpool set to become the fourth different team to win it in the last five years (Leicester, Chelsea and City are the other three). 

Since 2000, Ligue 1 has had eight different champions, the Premier League will have six (if we include Liverpool) and Germany five. Spain and Italy are on four. 

Map of the most valuable players

However, nowadays the strength of a league is determined by its players and how competitive the games are. This proves that the Premier League lead the way. 

Seven of the 18 players with more than 90 ELO points play in this competition. They are Kane, Aubameyang, Bruno Fernandes, Raúl Jiménez, Alisson, Salah and Van Dijk. It has always been an attractive competition for its physcial nature and end to end games as well as the talent on show. 

La Liga just has four players with at least 90 ELO points: Luis Suarez, Messi, Sergio Ramos and Benzema. In addition, we cannot ignore the fact that they are all over the age of 30. 

Cristiano Ronaldo, Immobile and Lukaku are the ones who fulfil this criteria in Serie A. It is not a coincidence that they play for the top three in the league. 

Both Germany and France just have two (Lewandowski and Werner and Neymar and Mbappe). 

But that is not all. England dominates in the first four category ratings (more than 90, 86-90, 81-85 and 76-80). 170 of their 464 players are in that range. That is to say, 36.64% of all the players have at least a rating of 76.

The league in second place is the Spanish league with 27.5% of its players with 76 ELO points or more (129 out of 469).

Italy has 26.21%, France 21.83% and Germany 17.65% are the other figures. 

If we have already commented the average ELO for each competition, the mode (most common value) in the Premier League is 76-80 points in England, 71-75 in La Liga, 66-70 in Bundesliga, 61-65 in Ligue 1 and 55 or less in Italy. 

The stats mean that there are more players in the middle category in Germany and France while in Italy, there is lots of talent, but also many average players.

Cuál es el nivel real en las cinco grandes ligas

Evolution and perspectives

On the whole, we can see in the graph titled "Number of players in each ELO rating range" an almost equal distribution of stars in the five competitions. Each one has at least one star with 90 ELO points. 

Various factors have caused this map to change. The biggest is the financial power of each league. The Premier League is the competition with the greatest purchasing power in recent years. In addition, it has a more equal distribution of the TV rights money. The money earned by the bottom placed team is as much as a Champions League side in other leagues. 

In addition, the fact Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are no longer both in La Liga means Spain has been knocked off top spot. In fact, Spanish players moving to the Premier League has ben a constant in recent years. It all started with the coaches (Rafa Benitez, Pellegrini, Guardiola, Pochettino, Emery), but then top players began to move as well. Rodri, Fornals, Kepa, Deulofeu, Ayoze, Ceballos and many of them after big investments. 

Italy has the potential to improve in the coming years due to the generous tax laws for the players. Cristiano Ronaldo and De Ligt have moved them and in the coming seasons, it would not be surprising if Italy's average ELO moved into second. 

Premier League

Cuál es el nivel real en las grandes ligas

Now we look at how the top clubs' ELO has changed since 2000 in the major leagues starting with the Premier League. The most eyecatching thing is Manchester City's huge rise. They have gone up 30 points in 20 years. The line shoots up since Mansour Al-Nayhan's takeover in 2008. 

We can also see how Man Utd, despite their recent lack of titles, have never dropped below 90 ELO points. Chelsea and Liverpool have been erratic in recent years with Chelsea on the slide and Liverpool on the up. 

It is the only one of the top five leagues which sees all the big clubs over 90 points. 

La Liga

Cuál es el nivel real en las grandes ligas

The Spanish graph can be divided into two. The first is the fight between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Although there has never been a difference greater than six points, Barca have just edged it since 2000. Their curve has hardly dropped while Real Madrid's dropped for five years between 2003-04 and 2008-09. Barcelona have a slight advantage at the moment. 

Both clubs peaked in the 2017-18 campaign when Real Madrid won four titles (Champions League, Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup) while Barca won La Liga and Copa del Rey. Madrid reached 99 ELO points and Barca 98. Nobody has reached higher. 

The other battle is between Atletico Madrid and Sevilla. As a result of the Europa Leagues they won, Sevilla went past 9p points three seasosn back. Atletico have not had less than 90 points for seven years. That said, Madrid and Barca dominate in Spain. 

Serie A

Cuál es el nivel real en las grandes ligas

In Italy, the Calciopoli corruption scandal and Napoli's bankruptcy means the clubs' values shoot up and down. There are six different clubs covered. 

Juventus could have had a flatter curve had they not been demoted to Serie B. Their value shot back up when they were promoted back to Serie A at the first attempt and they have had very high values for the last five years. 

AC Milan's curve clearly shows their seasons of success (2003 and 2007 Champions League) and they drop off from 2012. They have not had an ELO rating of 90 for seven years. A similar thing happens to city rivals Inter although their rating has increased in the last three years. Inter have the fourth best rating up to now. 

Roma are those in third (mainly due to Totti's golden era). Currently, they have good ratings although their peak was when they reached 92 in the 2007-08 seasons. They have grown in the last decade

Lazio's and Napoli's curves go in opposite directions. Lazio began the millenium as champions of the 1999-00 Serie A with the likes of Veron, Nedved, Salas and Simeone before dropping for a decade until Napoli took over. Napoli were in Serie C in 2005 (ELO data is only measured for professional leagues) and then got back to back promotions. Since then, their ELO has got better every year and it currently stands at 91. 

Ligue 1

Cuál es el nivel real en las grandes ligas

There is a before and after Nasser Al-Khelaifi's arrival at PSG and the Qatari money. They arrived in 2011: since then, their ELO has increased by an average of 10 points. The Parisian outfit began the millenium as the third most valued team in France and now no one has been able to stop for them six years. 

Although there is an improvement in general, inconsistency is the main thing shown on the Ligue 1 graph. Here we can see a range of spells: Lyon's up to 2013, coinciding with the time they won seven titles in a row and Monaco's which plummeted after their relegation in 2011. 

Marseille, despite not being at their best in recent years, have a more consistent and successful curve. The range of values is just 10 points. 


Cuál es el nivel real en las cinco grandes ligas

The only word possible here is dominance. Bayern Munich, even when they have not won tournaments, have dominated German football. The proof is that their line has gone from a low of 92 and a high of 97. It is almost a straight line. 

A similar thing happens to Bayer Leverkusen apart from a decline in the last two years. They were competing with Bayern back in 2000, but they have been below Dortmund for the past decade. 

Dortmund, who peaked under Jurgen Klopp and after a clever transfer policy involving the signing of youngsters, they began to threaten Bayern during the 2010s. 

As well as that, we look at the rise of Hoffenheim and Leipzig in recent years. Dietmar Hopp's arrival saw a team from a small town in Germany get promoted to the Bundesliga in 2007 and then end up playing Champions League football. From 43 ELO points to 77 at the moment. 

Regarding RB Leipzig, they reached the top flight in 2016-17 after four promotions in seven years. They were a team fighting for the Champions League places from the very first day. They have been shooting up for the past five years and they are on course to finish in the top four again. 

A look at all five leagues together

Cuál es el nivel real de las cinco grandes ligas

We finish off the study how we began it: measuring the Premier League's dominance over the other leagues. Therefore, with took the average ELO from each season. Despite the fact that some thought that La Liga had been knocked off top spot in recent years, the Premier League has led the way for the last 20 years. La Liga has actually closed the gap in the last two years. 

Another thing which catches our attention is La Liga's sudden drops in 2009 and 2014 when it lost second spot to Italy and Germany. It even ended up being fourth in 2009-10. 

Ligue 1 has almost always been bottom as they just have PSG. The quality at the top of the Premier League (Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and United) have made the Premier League stronger. 

We can see that the top five leagues have all seen their ELO rise since 2000 which is proof they are the best five in the world. The improvement of teams like Napoli, Leipzig and Sevilla has been crucial to that. 



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