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What are the best leagues in Europe?

Lucas Moura and Fernandinho
(Image credit: PA)

The Premier League, England’s top division, is regarded as perhaps the best and most exciting league in the world.

It combines top quality players with a fast-paced and physical style of football, attracting bigger TV audiences than any of its competitors.

Of the so-called ‘big five’ European Leagues – the rest comprising the Bundesliga (Germany), La Liga (Spain), Serie A (Italy) and Ligue Un (France) – the Premier League is considered the least predictable.

The others are typically dominated by one or two teams, whereas the Premier League has had five different champions over the last decade.

In that period, Manchester City have won five titles, three of them under Pep Guardiola, and Chelsea have claimed two.

Manchester United won the last title of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, Liverpool won their first since 1990 and Leicester City caused one of the biggest upsets in football history six years ago.

In contrast, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have been almost unstoppable in their respective leagues.

The enduring rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona helps to keep things interesting in Spain, where Atletico Madrid have also emerged as a threat.

Success in the Champions League is often seen as a measure of a league's strength, with Man City and Chelsea competing in last season's final.

The Premier League, which was formed in 1992, has benefitted from an influx of money from international sponsorship and broadcast deals.

This money, which is more evenly distributed than in La Liga and Serie A, for example, has enabled clubs to attract and retain better players.

But inequality is still rife, with the biggest clubs actively seeking an ever larger share based on their global appeal.

This was the principle underpinning the proposed European Super League, which would have featured clubs from Spain, Italy and England.

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