Illusion 09

History Lesson

In the year 2009, Pep’s Barcelona won six trophies in one year.

In 2010, Barcelona ended the season with only one league defeat and almost reached the Champions League final.

In 2011, Barcelona had a very dominant team that won both the league and the Champions League.

On the other side of the land, rivals Real Madrid were building a team full of stars that managed to win the league in 2012. Mourinho’s Real Madrid accumulated 100 points that season.

Tito’s Barcelona won the league in 2013 with the exact same fashion.

Finally, underdogs(if you can really call them that) Atletico Madrid celebrated winning the league in 2014. Real Madrid also had a massive year in 2014 winning four trophies including the Champions League.

Of course, this ‘history lesson’ misses out on a lot of other trophies and events but that’s not the main concern here.

Now, here comes the interesting part.

You ask yourself golden questions: What happened to people’s perception of La Liga after 2009?

Is this ridiculous dominance from Barcelona, and at one point Real Madrid, a normal thing?

Below you’ll see a decade of La Liga records. Below you’ll see the rise of of an exception.


Maybe the word “rise” is not so accurate in this case looking at the above graph.

The graph shows league winners in the past decade and how many draws and defeats they suffered throughout their campaigns.

In the year 2003/2004 Valencia won the league even though they suffered 8 draws and 7 defeats.

The next two years Barcelona won the league but also with a a proper amount of draws and defeats.

Real Madrid actually won the league in the years 2007 and 2008 losing more often than they drew which in itself is another indication of real competition.

We can even go back to 2003 when Real Madrid won the league with a total of 12 draws and 4 defeats. That is a lot of draws. Similarly, in 2002, Valencia won the league with 12 draws and 5 defeats. Why not even go back to 1998 when Barcelona won the league but also suffered 10 defeats. I repeat: TEN.

In other words, these years were a normal representative of what a league competition is all about. And going back further into history that is mostly what you’ll see.

In 2009, Pep’s team also had a “normal” record of defeats and draws but that year is when things really changed.

La Liga, a league bound to the dominance of Barcelona and Real Madrid, became more of a walk-through than in recent history.

Even in that 2009 league campaign, the draws and defeats were absolutely irrelevant considering that Barcelona had practically already won the league.

In the year 2010, the unimaginable happened. Barcelona finished the season with only one defeat which was against Atletico Madrid.

Similarly, in 2011, Barcelona suffered only 2 defeats the entire season against Hercules and Real Sociedad.

Real Madrid didn’t stay quiet for long either. In 2012, Real Madrid won the league with 4 draws and 2 defeats.

Tito’s Barcelona, with a similar show of dominance, also won the league with 4 draws and 2 defeats.

Finally, in 2014, one of the best things happened in terms of league competition. Atletico Madrid won the league and they did it with 6 draws and 4 defeats.

So, what really happened in these few short years?

Was Pep’s team very dominant? Yes.

Was Mourinho’s league campaign very successful? Yes.

Was Tito’s team very confident in the league? Yes.

Of course, a lot could be said when answering the question “why?”

They’re financially on top of the world and more importantly on top of all La Liga teams. But, let’s leave the reasons why their dominance was very visible aside.

Here is the most important part of all.



Such an era or phase in Spanish football’s recent history has influenced the way the world understands La Liga. In other words, winning the league with such records and dominance is not the norm. On the contrary, it is the exception.


The average of defeats from 2003 until 2008 was 6.4 defeats per season. And going back into history you’ll probably witness the same average if not a higher one.
Between 2009 and 2012 this average dropped to 2.5 defeats per season. Such a change can’t be disregarded.


Many fans around the world have lost the essence of what a competition is because of this era. This, of course, does not imply that Barcelona losing or drawing matches is acceptable as such a mentality won’t lead to success. However, getting rid of this illusion that everything should and will go a team’s way throughout a season is essential. Other teams compete, mistakes happen, and tough away grounds have always proven to be difficult.


Atletico won La Liga last season and reminded the fans of what makes a competition great. This season, Real Madrid, arguably the best team in the world right now, have already been defeated 3 times. That is more than any season from 2009(considering that the 2009 end-of-season defeats were irrelevant) until 2012 and one less than Atletico last season. Similarly, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla have all suffered 3 defeats as well this season.


Could reality be rushing back into La Liga after years of illusion? I sure hope so.



  1. Really nice and great infographs, love this and thanks, i usually look to how well a team is playing to historical stats, this offers a new perspective for me. Thanks

  2. Nicely done, Chief. Thank you.

    — Club pimping Atleti tickets on Twitter. Still more than 10k tickets left for huge match.

    — Barça B lost 2-0, as meekly as could be. More than 300 minutes without a goal, and they look terrible, as bad in actuality as many suggest the first team is.

    — Denials from the Messi camp (through trusted sources) and Bartomeu (from New York) about any meetings, “him or me” rumors, etc, etc.

    — No other news for today, so far.

  3. Yes barca b lost another game eusebio will be fired and another coach will come but the truth is that squad is for juvenil A league and not for a very difficult championship.And i hope that we will not looking in monday for two new coaches.But i m afraid we will.

    1. The B team has been good enough in the past few seasons for two third-place finishes in that very same league. So either:

      1) The coach is doing a horrible job
      2) The players are not of the same quality
      3) The general turmoil in the club is having effect on the B team too

      Let’s just hope it’s not 2, because then we’re screwed given the transfer ban situation…

    2. Well our defenders are not v good.We dont have a RB with quality,Grimaldo is more attacking minded LB and our CB are ie bagnack diagne.A lot of mistakes by all of them.So yes the quality is samper traore and maybe halilovic.But i hope the new coach will bring the new ideas and passion our youngsters need:-)

  4. Ok, so is it even worth trying to guess tomorrow’s lineup ?

    For me, ( assuming Xavi won’t make it which is a blow) it would be


    Alves, Pique, Mathieu, Alba

    Busi Rakitic Iniesta

    Messi, Suarez Neymar

    However, at least five of the above may watch the game from the stands!

    Might be a call tobacco Masche in instead of Busi given the undoubted combative nature of the game but we saw what happens when we don’t have quality in the midfield against Elche. It was a wasteland despite some still thinking somehow this was it as we’d removed the problem in the ageing midfielders. Well, you got your wish and they hardly touched the ball. All the goals were thanks to the quality of our front three.

    Not easy is it ? We’re gonna have to make them run all day to give our forwards a chance and we’re gonna have to have numbers back when needed and be able to defend set pieces/ cross balls. Still think we can win this one. We have better players. Can we match them in team play is the question.

    1. big question on Xavi, he was never pronouced “injured” per se, from what i could tell, but he was practicing apart from the team yet again today. they said it was a “small fibral injury” in the soleo, which is just below the calf, i believe. yeah, big questions in midfield…also curious to see if Mathieu gets the nod in this one…he does not have the medical OK as of today, but he did practice with the team. i agree Pique starts. if mathieu doesnt play, then question is if bartra pairs with Pique or if we have both Masch and Busquets in there. i suspect the latter.

    1. It will certify Luis Enrique’s ineptitude, even though we couldnt beat Atletico in 6 tries last season. 😉

  5. Last season we had not suarez rakitic mathieu and most important we had not DOUGLAS!!!!!!The gift that zubi left to all of us so we will remember him 4 ever;-)

  6. Well sometimes i look at big europe giants like milan lfc united and i feel so proud even in such dark times:-)

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