Spain’s Liga BBVA is commonly know as La Liga and is one of the strongest leagues in European football. Popular teams typically attract tens of thousands of fans and provides them the opportunity to watch some of the most famous players in the world.
The first league championship in Spain was staged in 1929, with ten teams contesting this. Over the years the number of teams taking part has increased. By 1950 sixteen teams were playing in La Liga and it expanded to its current number of twenty in 1987. At the end of each season these days the top team is crowned champions of Spain and the bottom three are relegated to the Segunda Divison.
The most successful team in the early years of La Liga was Atletico Madrid and they won the title on a number of occasions. Since the 1950s though Real Madrid and Barcelona have dominated and they are the two most successful teams in the history of the league. Other teams that have taken the title more than once include Athletic Bilbao, Valencia and Real Sociedad.
Many of the greatest footballers have starred in Spain’s Liga BBVA. Over the years this has included Alfredo di Stefano, Diego Maradona. Zinedine Zidane and Raul Gonzalez. Top players are still attracted to play in Spanish football, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi plying their trade with Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
The fixture that attracts most attention in Spain is Barcelona against Real Madrid and these matches go by the name El Clasico. Other top fixtures include the Madrid derby that pits Real against Atletico and the Seville derby, where Sevilla are matched against Real Betis. Anyone interested in the latest matches in Spanish football can find details at sportsbook.betsson.com.
The Spanish Liga BBVA attracts interest from around the world and the teams that play in it are some of the most famous in football. Anyone that supports the beautiful game will enjoy the excitement of the games and should take the time to watch some.
Arguably the most exciting and certainly the most unpredictable season since the inception of the English Premier League is in full swing, with Arsenal currently holding a narrow lead at the head of the table. However, at least six teams can claim to have a realistic chance of claiming the title come May. Hardly a week goes by without two or more of them squaring up in a pulsating encounter. Here’s a look at what’s in store during the run-in to the crucial Christmas fixture pile-up. You can follow all the action at Nordicbet.
The early kick-off on Saturday sees an in-form Newcastle travel to Manchester United, the Red Devils having claimed only two points from their last three league encounters. Alan Pardew’s talented Magpies have won four out of five and sit within striking distance of the leaders, well capable of causing an upset.
On Sunday leaders Arsenal welcome Everton, full of confidence after downing former boss David Moyes at Old Trafford this week. Roberto Martinez has instilled a forward-thinking approach into his Toffees side and they will know that Arsenal’s stellar run of form has to come to an end sooner or later.
The second of three huge games in a row for Arsenal sees Arsene Wenger and his side travel to Manchester City early on Saturday. The Blues are near invincible at the Etihad Stadium, having taken maximum points there this season under new boss Manuel Pellegrini. The Gunners have lost only once on their travels this term though, at City’s rivals United.
On Sunday, Tottenham hosting Liverpool in the late game whets the appetite. The Reds will be favourites as Luis Suarez looks to continue a red hot run of form, with Andre Villa-Boas’ men struggling to find the net so far this season. The Lily Whites are a tight defensive unite however, and must arrest their slump soon.
Southampton host Spurs on Sunday 22nd, Maurizio Pochettino’s men proving the surprise package in the first half of the season. The Saints are usually a safe bet at home, but Tottenham will provide a stiff test and it will be a meeting full of cultured football on the south coast.
The heavyweight encounter of the weekend comes on Monday when Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal. Two of the favourites for the title will no doubt go hell for leather at one another and serve up an early Christmas gift to savour for the North London faithful.
The English Premier League is widely known as the most competitive, star-filled, thrilling and downright sexy soccer league in the whole world.
It was formed back in 1992 from a breakaway of top English clubs from the Football League, which had existed for more than 100 years previously. It still acts as a ‘feeder league’ for the Premier League, with three teams promoted and three relegated each season.
The name sums it up: ‘Premier’. It means leading and best, and this is certainly the case. With the likes of Manchester United, who have a record number of Premier League titles, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City taking part, it simply oozes class and style.
Style of play
The Premier League is known for its no-holds-barred and combative philosophy, and despite the very liberal sprinkling of top foreign football talent, it still retains those traditional English sporting virtues of hard work, fast-paced action, and excitement.
With its status as the highest-paying soccer league, and its enormous worldwide exposure via TV, the Premier League has surpassed the likes of Spain and Italy as a magnet for the best soccer stars outside England. Each team has a number of players from beyond the British Isles, with the likes of Arsenal having, on occasions, fielded a team with no English players at all! This has brought a new level of technical skill to an already impressive format, and ensures the Premier League will hold its position at the zenith of global domestic football for many seasons to come.
Memories of the 2012-13 European Cup final will live long as the all German clash produced an amazing last minute winner from Bayern Munich’s Dutch star Arjen Robben. Ever since the great Real Madrid team of the 1950’s the attack focused, dramatic nature of European football has seen it embraced across the sporting world. The upcoming season looks unlikely to disappoint.
European champions Bayern Munich’s signing of highly-rated ex-Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola for the upcoming season could see the team from Munich become even more formidable. Following their treble last year Munich will expect instant success and if Guardiola can successfully blend the aggressive Munich style with his own preference for possession based football Bayern will look set to dominate European football for the next few years.
The English Premier League has itself been dominated by Manchester United since its foundation, however this year the team are without their talismanic manager Alex Ferguson, his replacement by David Moyes looks to be an interesting move but one that may take time to work. This leaves Manchester City and possibly Chelsea (both with a new manager of their own) clear to mount a title challenge.
Meanwhile Spanish football has been suffering something of blip, with no team in the last European Cup final and the national side defeated by Brazil in the recent Confederations Cup it will be interesting to see how the new season plays out. Catalan side Barcelona have added Neymar to their squad and look like being the strongest team in Spain yet again, however Real Madrid’s acquisition of a new managerial team may mean the Madrid team will be more focused this year.
In Italy last season’s champions Juventus remain the favourites to retain their title, their closest challengers will probably be Milan although many commentators are predicting another strong season for Napoli provided they can hold onto star player Cavani.
Finally, talk around French football has focused upon the prospect of new financial regulation. Although both super-rich Paris Saint-Germain and tax exempt Monaco seem undaunted and have invested hugely in new players.
Soccer is an excellent sport for people of all ages, but it is particularly good for young people. Because it is such a popular sport in the UK, there can’t be many children who haven’t had any experience of it and, quite often, they will have a favourite team or a player they really admire.
Training can be fun
If somebody enjoys an activity, it makes it easier to be motivated to work hard at the training required to become good at it. In this respect, soccer is a really good choice because it is an enjoyable game and the coaches often use child-friendly and fun methods during training sessions.
Football for health
The benefits of exercise are not only physical. As well as improving heart and lung health, restricting the development of fat and improving muscle tone, regular exercise has been shown to improve mental health and generally raise the spirits. The amount of physical activity in a training session or match makes football a great form of exercise.
There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’
A big part of being good at soccer is the ability to work as a team. Communication skills improve with training and the young people learn a lot about developing relationships and a sense of fair play.
Although not every youngster who plays football on a regular basis will end up playing for Liverpool or Chelsea, they can all gain a great deal from the experience that could help them to lead happier, healthier lives.
A good soccer training session should be a fun workout that combines fitness, ball control, teamwork and, of course, the opportunity to play some football. Soccer demands stamina, agility and speed, so general fitness and flexibility are important. Fitness work should include short bursts of intense sprinting and quick changes of direction, just as the game itself does.
Players should practise receiving and passing the ball with both feet and over a range of distances. One-touch passing games are fun and great practice. Don’t neglect heading skills, and work on chest control for high passes. Dribbling skills are vital in soccer, and training races around lines of cones bring some competitive fun to practice sessions. Players should also practise striking the ball in dead-ball situations, such as corners and free kicks.
Positioning and teamwork are vital for success in soccer. Players should do drills based on their positions. Defenders can practise holding offside lines or offering wing cover from central defence. Midfielders might work on tracking back or on making supporting runs forward. Forwards can practise holding up and laying off the ball, timing runs and, of course, shooting. Goalkeepers need to work on shot-stopping, high crosses and recovering position after making a save. All of this work can be combined in team training for throw-ins, corners and free kicks.
The final piece in any training session should be a game. Players get a chance to test their new skills and to have some fun too.