Europe is considered the home of football, and clubs within the continent continue to exemplify this with some of the strongest leagues in the world. Football remains the most popular professional and amateur sport in Europe. Most kids engage in the game at an early age and probably carry a dream of playing professionally some day. Virtually every country in Europe has a professional football league.
Top five European leagues
Despite Europe being a largely popular place for the sport of football, there are five countries that are considered to have the strongest leagues. These are:
- England – English Premier League
- Spain – La Liga
- France – Ligue 1
- Germany – Bundesliga
- Italy – Serie A
The measure of the strength of a league is reached using several factors, among them attractiveness to foreign players, revenue generated and its clubs’ performance on the continental stages. Among these top leagues, clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United, Barcelona, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, PSG and Monaco are some of the most popular.
It is every player’s dream -not just in Europe, but all over the world – to play in one of these leagues. They are arguably the most competitive top divisions in the world and offer some of the best wages for professionals too. Coaches too love to test themselves in these competitions.
The huge popularity of clubs in these leagues has also been a drawing factor for investors. many of these clubs have changed ownership from their traditional models and are country owned by rich investors from as far as Asia and America. The big money in these leagues led football administrators to establish Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules to prevent some teams from edging rivals out completely.
Many of these leagues have up to four lower tiers that feed the top division. The English Premier League, for instance, has the Championship, League One, League two and so on all the way to the grassroots. They work closely with the specific country’s Football Association (FA) to ensure the football structure stays functional.
Aside from these top five leagues, other European countries have leagues of varying strength too. Even where leagues are not considered so strong, there are a number of teams that compete closely with their counterparts from the big leagues. Sporting, Porto (Portugal), Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands), Galatasaray (Turkey), and Salzburg (Austria) are some of the strong teams outside the top five leagues.
Players plying their trade in these leagues often find transfers to the top clubs where they can play more competitively and earn more. The clubs themselves depend on the business with the big clubs to keep their business models going. Ageing players often move to the lower leagues as they near retirement.