My illustrious, sublime, beloved, fantastically fast-paced and drama-filled league. YOU are the best, most exciting league in all of Europe.
No Neymar, no Alba, no Arda, no problem. Where else can we see glimpses of glorious interplay and ball movement like those put on display by Barcelona in the first half of yesterday’s Supercopa final, only to be followed by a second-half slap to the face reminding us that yes, we are still watching preseason fútbol? Where else can we see a league’s best defense (based on stats from the previous season) lose its 4-1 lead in European competition? Where else can we see a player like Luis Suarez– half-mastermind, half-insane human– whose every movement on the pitch has meaning, send outrageously deceptive and perfectly-placed passes at the blink of an eye (rewatch Rafinha’s goal to put Barca up 3-1 for further evidence).
Where else can we see magisterial Messi grace our presence on a weekly basis, let alone net two spectacular free-kick goals in the span of eight minutes?!
The list goes on. All-knowing fans question managerial decisions around the world, but La Liga has given us Luis Enrique, so that everyday we might be left wondering why he decided to play Sergi Roberto at left wing, and how it could possibly be that this man is on the verge of winning the fabled “sextuple” with Barca.
La Liga never fails to give us an exciting cast of characters (lest we forget that shoe-throwing Arda Turan will be suiting up for the azulgrana come January) and brilliantly-timed narratives: un superhéroe llamado Pedro might be on his way to Manchester as early as today, one day after scoring the 115th-minute game winner for Barca.
On the flip side, La Liga gives us clubs building world-class teams on totally disparate budgets, and Unai Emery and his side proved that in their defeat (neutrals were definitely compartiendo la gloria en tu escudo). Sevilla became the only team to score four goals against the azulgrana in the Lucho era, and they did so with a squad rife with injury and illness (I guess that’s what team barbecues will do to you…), forced to play their star defensive midfielder as a makeshift central defender. Not to mention the fact that Yevhen Konoplyanka, who joined the club on a free loan, scored the tying goal.
But no matter how hard Emery tries, he simply cannot seem to get his sides to pull the final trigger against the Catalans (he’s lost 20 times with four different teams).
La Liga, you really are the best, most exciting league in all of Europe, and we’re beyond elated to have you back. Kickoff is a week away, but I’m already feeling your energy and ability to lift my spirits. Plus, there’s no need to fear– Athletic Bilbao is the next Spanish side to have a shot at destroying the sextuple dream, and they’ll surely be psyched up after watching Barca’s lame excuse for defending in the second half against Sevilla. The two will meet on Friday at San Mamés for the first leg of the Supercopa de España final.