The men’s top professional football division of the Spanish football league system is called Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División, also known as Primera División in Spain and La Liga in English-speaking countries.
Liga Nacional de Futbol Profesional manages it, and 20 teams participate. The bottom three teams in each season are relegated to the Segunda Division and are replaced by the top two teams and the play-off winner.
La Liga has included 62 different teams since its inception. Nine teams have won the championship, with Real Madrid winning the trophy a record 35 times, most recently in the 2021/22 season, and Barcelona winning the inaugural La Liga.
La Liga was the best league in Europe for each of the seven years between 2013 and 2019 (as determined by the aggregate results of the previous five seasons) and was the best league in Europe in 22 of the 60 ranked years up to 2019, more than any other nation.
It also produced the continent’s best club more often (22) than any other league during that time, more often than Serie A (Italy), which came second.
During its history, many legendary and classic matches were played, and here are some that left a mark on the history of Spanish football. There are five biggest defeats in LaLiga history:
Athletic Bilbao 12 – 1 Barcelona (1931)
Maybe it’s a bit surprising on the top of this list to see Barcelona as the defeated team, but it is true.
Athletic Bilbao’s striker Bata was on fire that match, scoring seven goals and helping his team to score unbelievable 12 goals against the giants from Catalonia.
These days it’s very different as Barcelona is among the best teams in the World while Bilbao often struggles in the Spanish league, but it is how it is. Bilbao holds the record for the biggest goals winning margin in Spain against Barcelona of 11 goals.
Sevilla 11 – 1 Barcelona (1940)
It’s not very often to see one of the greatest teams in the world on a list like this as a defeated team. In the 1940/41 season, Sevilla managed to achieve something tricky to achieve these days.
They scored 11 goals against Barcelona in a match when Barcelona scored the first goal. Even though Seville disgraced Barca in this match, at the end of the season, Barca ended up in front of them on the table.
Real Madrid 11 – 2 Elche (1960)
Finally, one match is expected to be on this list. Real Madrid was a team in Spain in the 1960s and probably one of the best in the world.
Elce was unfortunate to play against very inspired football legends Puskas and Gento and ended up conceding 11 goals on a snowy day in Madrid.
Athletic Bilbao 10 – 0 Celta Vigo (1942)
Bilbao are one of the most popular teams in Spain, they are one of the founders of the Spanish LaLiga and also one of the teams that never were relegated from the league, so it’s not surprising that they had such huge wins among other opponents.
Season 1942/43 was exciting and fulfilling with such extreme results, and besides Athletic Bilbao’s 10 – 0 win over Celta Vigo, Seville won against Oviedo with the same margin.
Barcelona 10 – 1 Gimnàstic de Tarragona (1949)
It wouldn’t be a complete list if I didn’t mention Barcelona as the winner once on this list. In the 1949/50 season, Gimnastic twice conceded ten goals, once by Barcelona and once by Celta Vigo.
This result was repeated several times in the history of Spanish football, as Real Madrid won against Las Palmas, Athletic Bilbao vs Zaragoza, and Deportivo La Coruna beat Lleida 10-1.