La LigaLa Liga, or the Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División, is the top professional football division of the Spanish football league system. The La Liga season runs from August to May and consists of 38 match days with the top 20 teams in the league playing against each other. On the final match day, the top four teams in the league compete in a two-legged playoff to decide the champions. Throughout its history, La Liga has been one of Europe’s top football leagues. It has produced some of the world’s most renowned players and teams, including the two most popular teams in Spain, Real Madrid and Barcelona. led by current superstars such as Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo. Real Madrid holds the record for most La Liga titles with 33, while Barcelona is in second place with 26. Since its inception in 1929, La Liga has been dominated by Spanish clubs however there have been some success stories from other countries, notably African-born players such as Yaya Touré and Samuel Eto'o, who both led FC Barcelona to multiple titles and were awarded the LFP Best African Player award several times. The 20 teams competing in the league are divided up into two divisions, the Primera División and the Segunda División. The Primera División is divided into three groups—the top-tier Liga BBVA, the second-tier Liga Adelante, and the relegated Segunda División—while the Segunda División consists of 20 teams vying for promotion into the top division. The winner of the league is determined by a system of points, goals scored, head-to-head performance, and overall goal differences. La Liga also boasts a host of competitive rivalries such as El Clasico between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. The current champions of La Liga are Atlético Madrid, with 13 total titles. The top three all-time goal scorers in La Liga are Lionel Messi (391 goals), Telmo Zarra (333 goals) and Hugo Sánchez (234 goals). The reputation of La Liga as one of the world’s top football leagues is solidified by its consistently strong performances in international competitions, including multiple Champions League and Europa League winners in the last decade, such as Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, and Atlético Madrid. La Liga also produces some of the most entertaining football matches in the world, drawing huge viewership from all around the globe.
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