Victorious memories: Liga champions over the years

La Liga has gone through 90-year history witnessing nine teams each crowned as  Liga champions. Let’s also look back at which team won the most in the Spanish league.

Liga champion

The La Liga History 

The Spanish National Championship, [a] commonly known as La Liga (La Liga Santander for sponsoring Santander),  is a highly professional football league. Mostly for men in the Spanish football league system. La Liga consists of 20 teams, with 3 teams having the lowest position at the end of the relegation season to Segunda División and replaced by the top 3 teams in that league.

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La Liga is one of the most popular professional sports tournaments in the world, with an average audience of 26,983 for the matches of the tournament in the 2017–18 season. It is the sixth-highest number of professional football tournaments in the country in the world and the third-highest among professional football leagues in the world, just behind the Premier League.

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Liga champion


  • Lionel Messi is the player with the most goals in the tournament history (as of February 23, 2019) with 389 goals.
  • Lionel Messi is the most hat-trick player in the tournament’s history (as of March 23, 2019) with 33 times.
  • Lionel Messi is the player scoring the most goals in a La Liga season with 50 goals (2011-2012 season for Barcelona).
  • The sequence of consecutive wins: 22 matches of Real Madrid in the 2014-2015 season (round 1 to round 18).
  • Fastest goal: 22 seconds – scored by Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) in a match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona (FC Barcelona won 3-1) on December 10, 2011.
  • The champion with the highest score: 100 points of Real Madrid won in the 2011-2012 season and of Barcelona won in the 2012-2013 season.
  • Team to score the most goals in a season: 121 goals of Real Madrid in the 2011-2012 season.

La Liga Champions Through Years 

9. Real Betis

Number of  Liga champion: 1 (1934-35)

The only  Liga champion of Real Betis was erected in Seville.
The only  Liga champion of Real Betis was erected in Seville.

At the time Real Betis was crowned champion, La Liga had only 12 teams participating. Under the guidance of Irish coach Patrick O’Connell, Betis has first crowned Liga champion in April 1935. They won 1 point more than the runner-up team Real Madrid.

The sad thing is that only one year later, Betis dropped one position to 7th. The difficult financial situation and the Spanish Civil War came so close that Betis could only keep 2 players in the championship squad. in 1935.

By the time La Liga was reorganized in 1939, Betis’s power was completely different when losing the key players. And that made them relegated even in the 1939-40 season. If there were no war, Betis would probably have dominated Spanish football for many more years.

8. Sevilla

Number of champions: 1 (1945-46)

Sevilla is better known for success in the European Cup
Sevilla is better known for success in the European Cup

Also considered as one of the big guys in La Liga today but Sevilla has only been crowned in this tournament exactly once. It was in the 1945-46 season, when they were only 1 point ahead of Barca.

In that season, Sevilla, like Betis, did not own any special goalscorer in the Pichichi title race. But in return, they have close duo Jose Campos and Juan Arza extremely dangerous. Campos finished the season with 15 goals and Arza had 14 goals. However, this is also the sublimation season that brings the only Liga champion to Sevilla.

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7. Deportivo La Coruna

Number of champions: 1 (1999-00)

 Super Depor was crowned La Liga in the 1999-00 season
Super Depor was crowned La Liga in the 1999-00 season

Deportivo was crowned champion with only 69 points. This is the lowest score that a La Liga champion has won in history since the 3-point rule for 1 victory was put into effect in 1995. Despite being the least winning team, Deportivo also gave up. 5 points from Barcelona runner-up.

The Dutch legend, Roy Makaay, is associated with this historic feat of Deportivo. New Depor’s newcomer scored 22 goals and was the only Deportivo striker to be in the top 10 scorers of the season.

6. Real Sociedad

Number of champions: 2 (1980-81, 1981-82)

Sociedad had a very successful period in the 1980s. They finished in first place in La Liga runner-up in the 1979-80 season, just one point behind Real Madrid. But in the following season, Sociedad successfully took revenge and won the championship for the first time, while ending the series of three consecutive championships of Real. Although both teams had 45 points and the difference of Real was superior, Sociedad ranked first thanks to the better confrontation record.

5. Valencia

Number of champions: 6 (1941–42, 1943–44, 1946–47, 1970–71, 2001–02, 2003–04

Benitez is the most successful coach in Valencia history when he won 2 La Liga and 1 UEFA Cup in 3 years
Benitez is the most successful coach in Valencia history when he won 2 La Liga and 1 UEFA Cup in 3 years

Valencia started to rise to become the major of Spanish football in the 1940s. They won their first la Liga title in the 1941-42 season. They maintained stability by continuously winning the next titles in 1943-44 and 1946-47.

Valencia’s next success period was in the early 2000s. At that time, Rafael Benitez was the driver of Los Che. The Spaniard earned two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup in his three-year tenure at Mestalla.

Since then, however, debt and instability have made Valencia unable to compete for the throne in La Liga. A place in the top 4 for Champions League is the biggest goal with “Bats”.

4. Athletic Bilbao

Number of champions: 8 (1929–30, 1930–31, 1933–34, 1935–36, 1942–43, 1955–56, 1982–83, 1983–84)

Athletic Bilbao has an admirable tradition of using homegrown players
Athletic Bilbao has an admirable tradition of using homegrown players

Athletic Bilbao is known for its policy of using Basque players only. This strict recruitment policy helps the team develop homegrown players and maintain loyalty within the team. As a result, they have become one of the most successful teams among the  Liga champions.

Still, the most glorious time in Bilbao’s history was the years before the civil war. They won four La Liga titles in the six years before the Spanish Civil War broke out.

By the 1980s, coach Javier Clemente came to power and created one of Bilbao’s strongest squad. As a result, they won La Liga in 1983 and won the La Liga / King’s Cup in 1984. Unfortunately, Bilbao has not had similar successes since then. Their only title is the 2015 Spanish Super Cup.

3. Atletico Madrid

Number of champions: 10 (1939–40, 1940–41, 1949–50, 1950–51, 1965–66, 1969–70, 1972–73, 1976–77, 1995–96, 2013–14)

Atletico are having success under Simeone coach
Atletico are having success under Simeone coach

Atletico is the team that started to rise after the Spanish civil war. They are the team that won 2 La Liga titles when this tournament was resumed after the civil war. Unfortunately, Atletico’s success after that was only momentary, not lasting.

The last time Atletico was crowned in 2014. Under the guidance of coach Diego Simeone, Los Rojiblancos rose to regain its status as a giant in Europe. However, the summer of 2019 marked the departure of a series of princesses in the team. Atletico’s finances after the opening of the new Wanda Metropolitano are also unstable. And so, the chance for them to compete for La Liga title is not high right now.

2. Barcelona has 26 Spanish football championships.

Number of champions: 26 (1929–29, 1944–45, 1947–48, 1948–49, 1951–52, 1952–53, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1973–74, 1984–85, 1990–91 , 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015 –16, 2017–18, 2018–19)

The excellence of Messi brought many La Liga titles to Barca
The excellence of Messi brought many La Liga titles to Barca

Barca is the great team in La Liga with 26 times winning the top league in Spain, leaving quite a distance away from other rivals.

The most successful era of Barca is the moment when there is superstar Lionel Messi in the team. Los Blaugrana has been crowned La Liga 10 times in the past 15 years. This dominance promises to continue in the near future as Messi is still showing outstanding excellence compared to the rest of the football world.

Only, the success that Messi brings also helps Barca close to the number of La Liga champions of Real Madrid but can not rise to occupy the No. 1 position.

1. How many times has Real Madrid won La Liga?

Number of champions: 33 (1931–32, 1932–33, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1956–57, 1957–58, 1960–61, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65 , 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1971–72, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1977–78, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1988 –89, 1989–90, 1994–5, 1996–7, 2000–1, 2002–3, 2006–7, 2007–8, 2011–12, 2016–17)

Real Madrid was crowned in the 2016-17 season
Real Madrid was crowned in the 2016-17 season

Real Madrid is the most traditional rich team in Spain. “White Vultures” have up to 33 times to lift  Liga champion title in history, superior to relative rivals Barca although this gap has been significantly narrowed during this period.

In the past 15 years, Real Madrid have won La Liga 4 times. This number is clearly too small compared to Barca. Perhaps so, the team has decided to spend tons of money to upgrade the squad this summer with a series of quality rookies. The goal of the Royal team next season is definitely to prevent Barca’s dominance in La Liga.

Not only is the most successful team in Spain, but Real Madrid also owns the most Champions League titles with 13 times. They have made history by winning the Champions League three times in a row in recent seasons. And when the title is fully satisfied in the European arena,  Liga champion will be the destination that Real Madrid aims to in the following years, thereby increasing the gap in the number of the championship with Barca.
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