The 6 Most Important Soccer Leagues in the World

19 August, 2019
These leagues are followed by fans from all over the world and every soccer player wants in. These major soccer leagues attract millions of views every weekend.
 

Every year the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) ranks their data to identify the most important soccer leagues in the world. In our post today, we want to fill you in on the leagues that have won their way to the top spots.

Soccer leagues: the most important leagues

Since 1991, IFFHS has been organizing lists of the most important soccer leagues in the world. Below, learn about the ones that have frequented the top spots; they’re considered to be the best of the best.

1. Spanish LaLiga

The Spanish league, LaLiga, was founded in 1929 and has already seen 89 editions. Every season, 20 teams pit against each other and play a total of 380 matches. Real Madrid is the team that’s won the league the most, raising the trophy 33 times. Behind Real Madrid is Barcelona, with 26 titles, and third is Atletico Madrid with ten.

The highest scorer of all-time is Argentinian Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona, boasting 419. The second highest-scorer is Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo with 311 goals and after him, Spaniard Telmo Zarra of the Athletic Club with 251 goals.

soccer leagues scorers
 

2. Italian Lega Calcio

The top Italian soccer league has been around since 1929. Before 1929, it was called Liga Nacional, or the National League. Each season calls for 20 teams and to play a total of 342 matches. The Lega Calcio is part of the top-five most important European soccer competitions as well as the top-four most important worldwide.

The biggest winner is Juventus, with 33 cups. Following Juventus is Milan and Inter, both with 18 wins each. Inter is also the team that’s played the most in the Lega Calcio, qualifying for 86 seasons.

3. English premier soccer leagues: a power league

The English league first started its current format in 1992. But the Football League First Division’s predecessor was already around in 1888. There are a total of 760 matches and 20 participating soccer teams.

Manchester United is the team that’s won the most Premier League titles– with 13. Chelsea has won the second-most titles with five and is followed by Manchester City, with four. The highest-scorers are Alan Shearer with 260 goals, Wayne Rooney with 208 and Andrew Cole with 187. All players were on the National English soccer team at one point or another.

soccer leagues premier league
 

4. Soccer leagues: Brazilian Campeonato Brasileiro, the first South American league

The Brazilian Championship is the most important league in the country. Since its beginning in 1959, it’s continued without interruptions and 62 editions. Since 2006, 20 teams start out in the tournament. The league spans from April to December and the top winners classify for CONMEBOL’s Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana.

The team Palmeiras has the most victories under its belt with 10 titles. It’s followed by Santos with eight and ranking third is Corinthians with seven titles. As a result, Sao Paulo is the province with the most victories in history and all three teams are inhabitants.

5. Argentinian Primera Division

Having started in 1891, the Argentinian First Division league is one of the oldest in the world. While its format has changed several times over the years, today, 26 teams participate. The autonomous entity, Superliga Argentina organize the league. 

River Plate claims the most titles in this league, 36 victories, and also boasts the highest amount of participation with 111 seasons. Other interesting records include the highest-scorer of all-time: Paraguayan, Arsenio Erico, with 295 goals. And, the player who played in the most games, goalie Hugo Gatti with 757 matches.

soccer league primera division
Image: Yahoo Sports
 

The Argentinian League hosts the Superclasico match between Boca Juniors and River Plate. According to many sports analysts, this game can’t be missed.

6. French Ligue 1

The Ligue 1 is commonly known as Le Championnat and started in 1932. Each season brings together 20 teams to play a total of 380 matches. Championnat is one of the most important leagues in Europe.

AS Saint-Etienne boasts the most victories with 10 titles. After Saint-Etienne is the Olympique de Marseille with nine titles, and last but certainly not least, Paris Saint Germain, Nantes and Monaco all have eight titles. The players who’ve played the most games in this league are Mickael Landreau, 618 matches, Jean-Luc Ettori, 602, and Dominique Dropsy with 596.

To wrap up our ranking for the most important soccer leagues according to the IFFHS, we want to add: German Bundesliga, Portuguese La Primeira Liga, Colombian La Categoria Primera A, and the Scottish Premiership.

 
  • Yagüe, J. M., de la Rubia, A., Sánchez-Molina, J., Maroto-Izquierdo, S., & Molinero, O. (2018). The relative age effect in the 10 best leagues of male professional football of the union of european football associations (UEFA). Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.
  • Anexo:Clasificación mundial de ligas nacionales de la IFFHS. Wikipedia. https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anexo:Clasificaci%C3%B3n_mundial_de_ligas_nacionales_de_la_IFFHS
  • IFFHS AWARDS 2018 – THE STRONGEST NATIONAL LEAGUE OF THE WORLD : LA LIGA AGAIN. 2019. https://iffhs.de/10296/