Barcelona and Real Madrid need to be concerned about La Liga rivals

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Ask anyone with a passing interest in Spanish football who their favourite teams are, and most likely the answers you will receive back would be either Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Spain's "big two" certainly remain the main attraction, but La Liga is very definitely not a two-team league. To suggest the same is to do a disservice to the likes of Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla, Athletic Club et al. Indeed, look at last season's European competitions by way of example. Atleti taking Real all the way in the Champions League and Sevilla grinding out a win in the Europa League.

Aside from the all-German Champions League final in 2013, Spanish clubs have dominated in the last few years.

Golden Age

A real golden age for the sport in the region you could say. Although both Barca and Real have enjoyed a rip-snorting start to the season, as per, they should cast a beady eye over their shoulders because the noisy neighbours are beginning to make themselves heard.

Peter Lim's takeover of Valencia has completely energised the community, and the signing of Alvaro Negredo has continued the feel-good factor. A distant ninth place finish last season was unexpected, and therefore the departure of Juan Antonio Pizzi came as no surprise.

His replacement, Nuno Espirito Santo, has things ticking along nicely with the team playing a style of football to please the patrons of the Mestalla.

Work Ethic

Sevilla too, are breathing right down the necks of the table-toppers, Unai Emery's sides renowned for their work ethic and attention to detail. Since his takeover in the role at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan during January 2013, and despite the departure of talisman Ivan Rakitic in the summer, Sevilla have continued to play attractive, combative and competitive football.

A description that also perfectly encompasses the fare served up by last seasons La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.

Enthralling audiences

Manager Diego Simeone has worked wonders with a team that lost a core of players in the summer. Any side without David Villa, Diego Costa, Thibaut Courtois and Felipe Luis you would expect to struggle and it's a sign of Simeone's acumen that the Rojiblancos remain extremely tough opponents to break down.

Tiny little Eibar are enthralling audiences wherever they go and perhaps the only disappointment of the season so far is the lethargic performances from Athletic Club.

Far from being boring, this is a league where you are guaranteed quality every single week, and at a far more reasonable price than it's Premier League counterpart.

Value, quality and some of the best players in the world. What more could you ask for?

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Athletic Bilbao
Real Madrid
La Liga

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