La Liga champions Valencia
Valencia CF celebrating their La Liga title win in 2002. Source: valenciacf.com

La Liga has seen the title being closely contested by Real Madrid and Barcelona over the years, with Atletico Madrid occasionally pipping both clubs to the title on a few occasions.

But did you know that teams such as Real Betis and Deportivo La Coruna, although they are considered league minnows at the moment, used to be champions of the league as well?

Here are the top 5 teams with the most La Liga titles in the entire history of the league.

Valencia – 6 league titles

Valencia won their first league title in the 1941-1942 season, which was the 11th season since the inauguration of the Spanish football league.

That season saw Valencia finishing first in a league with only 14 teams at the time, with Barcelona finishing in 12th place and almost being relegated, while Real Madrid finished that season as runners-up.

Valencia stormed their way to the title with 40 points ahead of Madrid’s 33, with Spanish forward Edmundo Suarez Trabanco (better known as Mundo), scoring 27 goals to lead the team to the championship.

Their last title came in the 2003-2004 season, where they finished 5 points ahead of Barcelona and claimed their 6th title in their entire history, with their top scorer Mista finishing the campaign with 19 goals.

Their other title wins came in 1943–44, 1946–47, 1970–71, and 2001–02.

Athletic Bilbao – 8 league titles

Athletic Bilbao comes in at 4th with 8 league title wins, just 2 more than Valencia.

Bilbao won their first league title in the 1929-1930 season when La Liga was only contested by 10 teams altogether, with Barcelona defending their title from the previous season and ultimate finishing 2nd, 7 points behind Bilbao.

That season saw Guillermo Gorostiza finish the campaign as the league’s top scorer with 20 goals, ahead of Real Madrid’s (who finished in 5th place) Gaspar Rubio who netted 19 times, just 1 behind Gorostiza.

Bilbao last won the title in the 1983-1984 season, when they finished level on points with 2nd placed Real Madrid but won the title on a better goal difference of 23 (Madrid had 22).

Their other league triumphs came in 1930–31, 1933–34, 1935–36, 1942–43, 1955–56, and 1982–83.

Atletico Madrid – 11 league titles

The perennial party crashers of the modern Barcelona-Real Madrid rivalry, Atletico Madrid won their first league title back in the 1939-1940 season, when 12 teams contested for the title.

Atletico Madrid was known as Atletico Aviacion at the time and finished the campaign with 29 points, ahead of Sevilla on 28 points; Real Madrid was known as Madrid FC at the time finished in 4th while Barcelona was 9th, escaping relegation by the skin of their teeth.

Atletico last won the title last season, with Luis Suarez joining the team from Barcelona following an acrimonious departure from the Catalan side; leading the team fo their first title since the 2013-2013 season.

Real Madrid finished 2nd while Barcelona came in 3rd, fully regretting the sale of Luis Suarez as the Uruguayan finished the season with 21 goals, the 4th highest on the top scorers of the season.

Atletico Madrid’s other league titles came in 1940–41, 1949–50, 1950–51, 1965–66, 1969–70, 1972–73, 1976–77, 1995–96, and 2013–14.

Barcelona – 26 league titles

Barcelona, one-half of the teams contesting El Clasico, dominated the league with Real Madrid over the years, which is no wonder the Catalan side won the title a whopping 26 times, 15 times more than 3rd place Atletico Madrid.

They won their first title in 1929, which was the inaugural season of the Spanish League, which lasted a little over 4 months and saw 10 teams contesting for the league title.

Barcelona’s latest title win came in the 2018-2019 season when they finished 11 points ahead of Atletico Madrid and a whopping 19 points ahead of rivals Real Madrid.

Their other league wins came in  1944–45, 1947–48, 1948–49, 1951–52, 1952–53, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1973–74, 1984–85, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16, and 2017–18.

Real Madrid – 34 league titles

The undisputed kings of La Liga, Real Madrid has won the most titles since the beginning of the Spanish League, as well as 13 Champions League titles, making them one of the most successful teams in Spain, if not the whole of Europe.

They won their first league title back in the 1931-1932 season, wrestling the title from defending champions Athletic Bilbao and embarking on an unprecedented winning streak that lasted through decades.

That season also saw 10 teams fighting for the championship, with Madrid finishing 3 points ahead of runners-up Athletic Bilbao, and Manuel Olivares as Real Madrid’s top goalscorer with 11 goals (he was 4th in the league top scorers chart).

Real Madrid’s latest league title came in the 2019-2020 season where they finished the Covid-interrupted campaign 5 points ahead of rivals Barcelona and claimed the title.

Lionel Messi finished the season as the league’s top goalscorer with 25 goals, as Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema finished 4 goals behind the Argentinian.

Madrid’s other league triumphs came in  1932–33, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1956–57, 1957–58, 1960–61, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1971–72, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1977–78, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1994–95, 1996–97, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2011–12, and 2016–17.

The most exciting league in Europe

La Liga is also home of some of the most exciting and most expensive players in the history of not just the Spanish league, but in world football as well.

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