However, out of the 21 editions of LaLiga that have been contested since the world avoided the Millennium bug in 2000, on only four occasions, has an outsider from the Camp Nou or the Santiago Bernabeu climbed the highest rung of the league ladder.
While usually in European football, there is a sense that the more things change, the more things stay the same and you only have to look at Bayern Munich’s dominance in Germany as a perfect example of such a statement.
Then again, that statement is seemingly no longer applicable within the confines of Spain and with salary caps being applied across the board, the Goliath’s are now beginning to be toppled by the David’s with much more regularity.
Because for Real at the top of the table, you must now read Sociedad and not Madrid and with Barcelona recently losing to the red and white iteration from the Spanish capital, Atletico’s victory over the Catalan outfit, has caused even more strife for Ronald Koeman.
Walking into a managerial maelstrom, after their 8-2 thrashing by Bayern in last season’s Champions League quarterfinals, the former Dutch national team boss then had to deal with the transfer saga regarding Lionel Messi.
Of course, we all know how that panned out and with Messi staying for now, it means he will still be collecting his rather hefty albeit heavily deserved weekly salary and it is salaries that have been the target of club chairman since the COVID-19 crisis changed the game forever.
In a recent report, it was announced that LaLiga clubs have made €600m worth of savings since the stubborn refusal of a global pandemic to clear and with the biggest clubs in the land spending the most beforehand, they have been the hardest hit.
With Barcelona and Real Madrid often taking part in what can only described as an arms race in terms of procuring world class talent, their budgets are largely eye-watering when compared to the rest of the division.
Which means, for those who are less fortunate in terms of finances, there is less cloth to cut in the first place and even with their own relative prudence in terms of budgets for the season, the impact to the playing squad is not as harshly felt.
Something that is arguably creating either a new order in Spanish football, or at least adding a long overdue amount of equilibrium to the competition and the longer that supporters are unable to enter stadia, the greater pressure is placed on the balance sheet of LaLiga’s dominant duo.
With so much of Barcelona and Real Madrid’s business model based on the revenue that is earned from mass attendance to their cathedrals, one of their most profitable streams is currently running incredibly dry.
Because these two powerhouses are less reliant on broadcasting income, they have felt a far greater pinch than their domestic counterparts and with 76% of the whole division’s cost cutting coming from this pair alone, it only highlights the further monetary pressures they are facing.
While although largesse was a template for former glories, it is not something that can guarantee success going forward and although it is far too early to write off both entities of El Clasico, budget cuts have certainly seen some new life being breathed into LaLiga this season.
Written by Dan Tracey