Understanding the ins and outs of European soccer can sometimes feel like trying to keep track of the innumerable characters on Game of Thrones – it’s a lot to take in. If you need to refresh your European soccer knowledge, check out this handy summary.
European soccer is a huge, billion-dollar industry and with good reason: few experiences are as exciting as seeing the world’s best soccer players battle it out on the field. Lucky for us, European soccer season is here, which means ongoing opportunities to see our favorite players up close and personal at the stadium.
The countries with the five most popular leagues are:
– England (Premier League)
– Spain (La Liga)
– Italy (Serie A)
– France (Ligue 1)
– Germany (Bundesliga)
Each league has its own regional competitions (often called “cups”) and pan-European competition (THE Champions League is the most famous). The English Premier League has two regional competitions: the FA Cup and the League Cup. La Liga in Spain, Serie A in Italy and Bundesliga in Germany each have one cup competition called la Copa del Rey, Copa Italia and DFB Pokal, respectively. France has two: Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue.
Today in England, the top teams are Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal. In Spain, today’s top teams are Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia, Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid. Italy’s top soccer clubs are Napoli, Juventus, Inter Milan Lazio and Roma. In France, Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco, Marseille, Nantes and Caen hold the top five positions. Germany’s top teams are Dortmund, Bayern, Hoffenheim, RB Leipzig and Hannover 96.
According to thebiglead.com, the top five players in the world all play for European clubs. Lionel Messi, considered by many to be the world’s greatest soccer player, plays for FC Barcelona, where he holds the record for the all-time La Liga leader in goals scored – as of 2017, it was a whopping 349. Cristiano Ronaldo, also considered one of the top two soccer players in the world, plays for Real Madrid and has won the FIFA Ballon d’Or (akin to the MVP award) in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
Perhaps one of the most controversial players in recent memory is Luis Suárez, who plays for FC Barcelona. Suárez shocked the world when he bit Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 World Cup. Nevertheless, he’s won a Premier League Golden Boot and continues to be one of the top goal scorers in the world.
Antoine Griezmann rose quickly through the ranks to become one of Europe’s best soccer players. In 2016, he beat out Cristiano Ronaldo when he won the UEFA Euro Adidas Golden Boot.
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (affectionately known as Neymar) recently made headlines when he transferred from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for a fee of 222 million euros. The purchase sent shock waves through the international sports community when broke the record for most expensive purchase of all time.
This post was written by Jacqueline Brechner.
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