Ranking the best football leagues in the world has been a debate, although it is clear that some of the top European competitions have always emerged top in both continental and international scene.
Competition like the FIFA Club World, the Intercontinental Cup, which has seen Spanish sides like Real Madrid top the number of most winners with over 7 titles.
Ranking the best Leagues in the world, there are several aspects to consider like Performance, attendance/followers, revenue share and individual player development.
If you take a closer look at the performance of the various teams within and outside their country, you will find out that the competitiveness of the domestic league is actually behind the impressive performance.
The Criteria for ranking
Considering this list, we highlighted the European scene, African tournaments, North and South as well as Asia and Oceania.
In Europe, competitions like the Spanish La Liga, the Premier League, Bundesliga, and Serie A have gone a long even as teams in these places usually come out successful at various continental competitions.
In North America, the Mexican Liga MX is the strongest and the most competitive. Mexican teams are the most successful in the CONCACAF Champions top tier competition since its inception.
In South America, Internacional, Independiente, Boca Juniors, River Plate, Corinthians are the strongest and the most successful teams.
Africa has Al Ahly Egypt, Zamalek, Wydad Casablanca, Étoile du Sahel, Enyimba FC, Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs, etc.
In Africa, Al Ahly singlehandedly won over nine CAF Championship won since the inception of the, making them the most successful club in the history of any club competition in the whole of Africa.
Oceania has Auckland City while Al Hilal and Pohang Steelers dominate the Asian scene.
Auckland City from Oceania is the biggest and the best in the region.
Which football league is the best in the world and why were they selected?
This is a huge question that requires justifiable answers looking at how various domestic tournaments have performed at the various continental and international competitions.
It would be too hectic to start looking at individual areas to know who earns the spot. As a result, our analyst at Interesting Football decided to pull through relevant Statistics and Data, to bring together the best football leagues based on merit and how they got to the list.
The main Ranking Criteria
Our experts looked through the performance of various clubs represent representing leagues across the world.
Ranking the performance of its club in the continental and international football competitions.
– Continental wins
Considering the number of wins from individual clubs in the same organized Championships.
– Continental performance, appearance
Considering the number of individuals team performance and appearance in continental competitions.
The competitive nature of individual national championships makes them better than others.
Today, there are leagues around the world which has little or no competition where single teams lift every single competition available.
The number of goals scored by the different team per game and per season which also contributions to the competitiveness of any league. More goals mean more Competition while fewer goals indicate poor Competition.
The performance of an individual player is also another clear indication of a competitive football. A domestic competition with a single star player means less competition.
There would be no Competition when the difference in the point between the first and second are much greater.
In the same vein, a competitive domestic campaign would see the first, second, third and fourth finish close in points with one another.
It is only a top or strong competition that attracts high matchday attendance and followers.
Ranking, data and Statistics were collected from the current season stats from WhoScored, FIFA, Wikipedia and Soccerway.
10. Major League Soccer (MLS) – United States
The Major League Soccer (MLS) is a men’s professional football league contested by teams from the United States and Canada.
The competition has also raised the bar in the last couple of years with a high influx of players from major European leagues and other parts of the world.
Los Angeles FC was Runners up of the CONCACAF Champions League in 2020, losing to Tigres UANL.
Top teams including Los Angeles Galaxy, Los Angeles FC, DC United, Real Salt Lake City, Seattle Sounders, etc.
The MLS carries more weight in South America and is currently one of the richest leagues in the world.
It is no secret that the MLS is another major force when it comes to world football in general.
If you take a look at the revenue and the value of individual United States teams, you would find out that the average value of some teams could be as high as 200 million dollars, which represents a huge quora of the revenues in the league.
When it comes to revenue generation, there are teams in the division earning nearly 80 million dollars as its yearly revenue.
The MLS also boast of housing some of the biggest players in the world football transfers market. Every year, there is a high influx of notable foreign players within Europe entering the league.
In the past, top European footballers like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Beckham played for Los Angeles Galaxy. Also other notable makes like Bastian Schweinsteiger, who also had stints with Chicago Fire.
The interesting status of the league has drawn several investors like the City Football Group, owner’s of New York City FC and Red Bull Gmbh, the owners of New York Red Bulls FC.
Currently, former player, David Beckham is also part of a franchise called the Inter Miami FC competition in the Major League Soccer since 2020.
MLS remains a competitive league but has struggled to meet up at the continental stage.
Los Angeles Galaxy and DC United and Los Angeles FC have made it more competitive. The recent addition of teams has also brought more stability to the league.
Los Angeles FC recently got into the scene as one of the top challenging clubs in the division. For the past few seasons they participated in the MLS, the club has not failed beyond the MLS playoffs.
Owned and governed by each participating member franchise teams, the MLS runs as a franchise league system where promotion and relegation are not considered.
Rather, the franchise prefers to expand the number of participants in the division. It is currently divided into Eastern Conference and Western Conference having 13 and 14 teams each which could further have more clubs with the expansion plans from 2022 and beyond.
The competition has provided an equal level playground where everybody is equal, having the same rights and power to compete.
Top teams in the MLS includes Los Angeles Galaxy, Los Angeles FC, Atlanta United, Seattle Sounders, New York City FC, Columbus Crew, Philadelphia United, DC United, FC Dallas, Portland Timbers FC, etc.
These are some of the best teams in the division.
The competitive nature of major league soccer has made it more interesting and has received more followers from within and outside the United States.
Some of the most popular clubs in the division include
Los Angeles Galaxy -; The club is the most popular and one of the most supported teams in the United States and this could be drawn to the signing of former Real Madrid and Manchester United heavyweight David Beckham.
His arrival quickly turned the attention of the media across the world towards the Los Angeles Galaxy who suddenly became a popular team in the world.
Also, the eventual signing of Irish legendary footballers Robbie Keane.
Also not forgetting the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The top star and football legend has continued to be one of the most prolific attackers of world football even after clocking 40.
In 2029 and 2021, Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined AC Milan in the Italian Serie A and brought some level of competition to the team.
Others include New York City FC, Seattle Sounders etc.
826 (2.84 per match)
Diego Rosi was an outstanding player throughout last season in the MLS.
The league receives the second-best matchday attendance in the United States and Abroad.
With ESPN broadcasting live games, the United States Major League Soccer receives a high number of followers from around the world.
For 2020, the average match day attendance for Atlanta United stood at 52,00 while Seattle Sounders received over 40,00 fans attending live games.
Atlanta United and Seattle Sounders have always been known for their attraction of fans during match days, leading to a high revenue generation by the club.
Today, the MLS is receiving a high number of followers around the world just as the German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A, The Premier League and the Spanish La Liga.
9. Primeira Liga – Portugal
The Portuguese Primeira Liga is another top destination for footballers and also competitive in its part.
The league has also had its fair share of European Football competitions. Portuguese teams have also continued to go beyond the group stages of every European competition.
Porto won the Champions League and Europa League in 2003/04 and 2010/11. Benfica also got to the Europa League finals twice in 2013 and 2014.
Top teams like Porto, SL Benfica, Sporting CP, etc.
Porto used to be a household name in European competitions since the club’s entrance to the European scene. The club in 2021, shocked Serie A Juventus in the round of 16 on away goals rule.
Sporting CP is known for producing some of the best players powering some of the biggest clubs on the continent. Players like Bruno Fernandes are the perfect example.
The Portuguese footballer is currently one of the best midfielders in the EPL with a very high record and has also received interest from some of the European heavyweights.
Porto, Benfica and Sporting CP remain the best teams that have represented the country at the continental stage.
In 2021, Porto Eliminated Juventus from the quarter-finals of the Champions League over two legs.
In 2020, Porto also achieved a similar feat.
Although it appears to be a three-horse race, Porto and Benfica are the top challengers of the league with Sporting CP in some cases.
Carlos Vinícius, Mehdi Taremi and Pizzi were top performing players last season.
The Portuguese league is also one of the most followed Leagues especially the Portuguese speaking countries.
Portugal has also gathered more followers due to its high number of teams following the clubs in search of players.
8. Liga MX – Mexico
Mexican Liga MX is the top men’s professional football league contested by 18 teams.
The Mexican Liga MX is one of the top division in North America having teams like Pachuca, Club Leon, Monterrey, America, Pumas UNAM, and Tigres UANL.
The teams from the division have dominated the CONCACAF Champions League and are better than United States, Canada and Costa Rica.
In 2020, Tigres UANL won the CONCACAF Champions League after defeating Los Angeles FC.
Mexican teams have singlehandedly won the last 15 CONCACAF Champions League titles.
Even though MLS teams have the resource and quality to perform higher at the continental stage. It appears MLS teams are not concerned about the CONCACAF Champions League compared to how they focus on the Major League Soccer.
Although, Mexican teams have been dominating the CONCACAF Champions League since its inception.
Today if you want to mention some of the most competitive leagues in the world, the Mexican Liga MX also comes to mind.
The league has also attracted bigger European players in the past few years.
Mexican teams also have a good record at the international scene like the FIFA Club World Cup. Last year, Tigres UANL reached the finals of the competition, losing to Bayern Munich narrowly.
In the CONCACAF regional tournaments, Mexico has the best outing followed by the United States, Honduras and Costa Rica.
Liga MX are undoubtedly the best teams on the continent with 15 titles in the last fifteen years. Top clubs like America, Monterey, Tigres UANL lead the charge as the best Mexican teams in the competition.
The title is not left for a single team alone. The division of the season to Clausura and Apertura also allows more competition.
A team like Pachuca, Club Leon, Monterrey, America, Pumas UNAM, Atlas, Santos Laguna are top contenders.
The Competitive Liga MX witnessed lots of goals last season. Mexican clubs are known for scoring too many goals per game.
Jonathan Rodríguez and Alexis Canelo were the top performing players in the division last season. The division had so many goal scorers including goalkeepers.
11,066 Liga MX also receives a high number of followers around the world. The league is one of the most competitive in the world.
7. Argentine Primera Division – Liga de Professional – Argentina
The Argentine Primera Division is arguably one of the biggest and the strongest national league in the whole of South America closely followed by Brazil which is also a strong contender when it comes to bragging rights.
Argentine teams dominate and Brazilian teams dominate the number of entrants for continental competitions which is as a result of recent impressive performance.
Although, the last two previous tournaments were own by teams from the Brazilian Serie A. The league in Argentina is also one of the most competitive alongside Brazil Serie A.
In 2018, Defensa y Justicia defeated fellow Argentine side Lanus to clinch the Copa Sudamericana, South America’s second-tier football competition.
The Argentine league is by far one of the dominant forces in world football.
The domestic league is also one of the most competitive having the likes of River Plate, Boca Juniors, encounter high Competition from San Lorenzo, Defensa y Justicia, Independiente, Colon, Velez Sarsfield, etc.
Although the first division in the country, the league is also one of the most outstanding.
Currently, the top professional league is known as the Liga de la professional or the Argentine Primera division after the Argentine Superliga was abolished.
Club’s like Boca Juniors and River Plate take the highest reputation in the country.
Argentina Primera Division clubs are successful in all continental competitions. Although 2020 was not a good year for clubs in the country.
The nation is one of the top performers in the history of the competition in history and now.
The competition in the league is at a high standard and have produced different types of winners each season.
In the past few years over four different winners have emerged.
Rafael Santos Borré and Silvio Romero scored twelve goals each as the league did not see too many goals from individual players. One of the lowest in recent years.
The Argentine league receives a high number of followers within South America, Brazil, Europe and some part of Asia.
6. Ligue 1 – France
The French Ligue 1 is a men’s professional football league contested by 20 teams. The league is also one of the top leagues in European football having teams like Paris Saint Germain, Olympique Lyon, Olympique Marseille, Saint Etienne and AS Monaco.
French teams have also done well in Continental competitions like Paris Saint Germain who got to the finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2020.
Lyon also got to the quarter-finals that year. Although the domestic league is more of PSG dominating the title year after year.
PSG have won the last three league titles.
Paris Saint German
Over the years, the Paris based club had spent several million on trying to achieve winning the Champions League, a trophy which currently has no place in the history of the club.
They remain the eye of France in any major European competitions having top world players like Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Di Maria, Mauro Icardi, Marquinhos, etc.
In the past, are the club had some top players like Edinson Cavani, Thiago Emiliano Silva, David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The club has also stepped up in its bid to challenge for any major European trophy, this was the reason behind the signing of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi.
Neymar, the Brazilian professional footballer currently holds the world transfer record fee of 222 million euros after Paris Saint German broke the bank to sign the player from Barcelona.
Kylian Mbappe was bought from As Monaco after the young Frenchman alongside Bernardo Silva, Thomas Lense, James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao led the club to t back to back Ligue 1 titles.
PSG paid Monaco a whopping sum of over 180 million euros to acquire the services of the player.
AS Monaco won the French Ligue 1 in two consecutive seasons in 2016 and 2017 having players like Kylian Mbappe, James Rodriguez, Thomas Lemar, Bernardo Silva, etc.
Arguably one of the biggest sides in the division, Lyon also have its history as one of the top teams to emerge from France.
Olympique Marseille is another notable name when it comes to french football.
French teams like Paris Saint Germain and Olympique Lyon were impressive during the 2020 UEFA Champions League where the two sides almost got to the finals, losing to eventual winners Bayern Munich.
In the last three seasons, it’s been Paris Saint Germain and no other team since AS Monaco won it back to back five years ago.
Although this season witnessed a spike in form from other teams, the squad depth of PSG continues to help the Parisians lead the charge with players like Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Julian Draxler, Marquinhos and Di Maria.
2022 is witnessing a change even as some average sides like Lille, Nantes challenge for the title.
More goals were scored in the French Ligue 1.
French star and Brazilian sensation Neymar were one of the best performers of the french division last season.
The league receives a high number of matchday attendance. Although the coronavirus pandemic had stopped fans from attending matches.
5. Brazil Serie A – Brazil
The compensate Brasilerao is a top professional soccer Competition in Brazil contested by 20 teams.
The league is one the strongest leagues of world football and one of the most competitive domestic league in South America having teams like Corinthians, Palmeiras, Sao Paulo, Internacional, Flamengo, etc.
In 2019, Flamengo got to the finals of the FIFA Club World Cup which they eventually lost to Liverpool.
Two Brazilian teams Flamengo and Palmeiras have won the last two Copa Libertadores titles in 2019 and 2020.
Brazil also has a competitive domestic league where clubs like Palmeiras, Flamengo, Internacional and Corinthians face high competition from teams like Gremio, Atletico Mineiro, and Paranainse.
Internacional won the FIFA Club World Cup in 2006.
In Brazil, the State Leagues is also considered to be almost at the same level as the Serie A since clubs do feature their senior sides in State League matches.
Before the introduction of Serie A, State Leagues stood as the top tier in the country.
In the history of the FIFA Club World Cup, Brazilian teams won the first three editions.
Corinthians (2) 2000, 2012
Sao Paulo 2006.
The Copa Libertadores is currently dominated by Brazilian teams. The two editions were sawed two Brazilian sides win it.
It hard for teams to win the title in two consecutive seasons. Every, a new winner emerges. It is one of the most competitive and the strongest domestic league in the world.
Claudinho and Luciano were the top performers of the Brazilian division with 18 goals each.
The league attracts high matchday followers from across the globe.
4. Serie A – Italy
The Italian Serie A is a men’s professional football league contested by 20 teams. Serie A is also one of the notable household names in world football.
In the past, Serie A used to be regarded as the best in the world before the fast development in the Premier League made more Competitions arise.
The impressive performance of Italian clubs has kept the league at its peak up till today.
Although it has not been at the highest level in recent years, only Juventus had reached the knockout stages of the Champions League in most finals losing in the end.
Italian sides have also had near misses in continental competitions. In 2020, Inter Milan lost to Sevilla in the finals for the UEFA Europa League, which could have easily been won.
In recent years, there have been no major achievements so far for Italian clubs at the international level.
Although beginning from the last two season, there had been a quick rise as teams like Lazio, Atalanta made surprise advancement to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
The teams are beginning to step up even though Juventus have won the last seven domestic titles.
In 2021, Serie A is currently experiencing a major shift in power as clubs like Inter Milan, AC Milan lead the charge.
At least, the league could see a new winner emerge at the end of the season in May.
Italian teams have struggled in European competitions in recent years. But there happens to be some major improvement with the emergence of an incredible side like Atalanta, Lazio.
The competition in Serie A is quite different as Juventus remain the best giving the league a reputation of a man show.
1,019: The Serie A saw a sharp Competition despite Juventus dominance. 2021 looks like there could be a change of power.
Fabio Quagliarella, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ciro Immobile were the top performers.
3. Bundesliga – Germany
The German Bundesliga is the county’s top tier football competition contested by 18 teams. The league in the past eight years have witnessed a clear dominance from Bayern Munich.
The Bundesliga teams have also performed well in European competitions, although Bayern leads the charge when it comes to German clubs in Europe.
In 2020, Bayern Munich emerged as winners in all major soccer competitions in which they participated.
The Bavarians won the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup, the Bundesliga, the UEFA Super Cup and the DFB Pokal all in the same year.
The history of the German league and its performance at the international level had always been Bayern Munich, and Borussia Dortmund in some cases.
Bayern Munich dominance in 2020 once again registered Germany on the international map as one of the top leagues in the world.
Other teams that have performed to an extent includes Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Monchengladbach, RB Leipzig, Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are one of the best sides in international competitions.
The competition in the German league is always there. But Bayern Munich had always found a way to lift the trophy every season.
Robert Lewandowski, Erling Braut Haaland, Andre Silva were the top performers.
La Liga – Spain
La Liga is the highest men’s professional football league contested by 20 teams.
The league is one of the top competitive leagues in the world having clubs like Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and Valencia.
The Spanish elite division has never failed to produce teams that would qualify for the knockout stages of European Competitions like the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League.
Looking at the Champions League history, Real Madrid is the most Champions from La Liga and in Europe with over thirteen titles won.
There’s no way that the Champions League would be mentioned without the inclusion of Real Madrid on it.
* Real Madrid
Real Madrid has won the UEFA Champions League thirteen times in the history of the tournament dating back to the times of Santiago Bernabeau, Zinedine Zidane, Alfredo Di Stefano.
Zinedine Zidane led the club to three consecutive Champions League titles between
Madrid has also owned the club world cup about eight times than any other Club.
This makes the club the most successful team in the world.
With the absence of key stars, Real Madrid has continued to perform at the highest standard, having players like Casemiro, Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes, etc.
Barcelona FC is based in Catalonia and is the second-best and the second most successful clubs in Spain.
Barcelona has proven to be one of the hottest teams in the world dating back to the times of Samuel Eto, Deco, Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol.
Barcelona is also one of the sides that has not failed to go beyond the group stages of European Competitions.
Sevilla, arguably the best when it comes to the Europa League. The club singlehandedly won the competition in four consecutive years.
En route to the title, Sevilla eliminated some big sides like Manchester United.
Sevilla’s downs had been no participation in any FIFA Club Competition.
Would there be any others team from Spain that would outperform Sevilla’s record?
Winning the trophy in consecutive seasons alone makes them one of the best in the country.
Spanish teams are one of the best in European continental competitions and have continued to perform at the highest level.
There’s a lot of competition between the three big sides in the country.
942: The Spanish La Liga had fewer goals scored than the Premier League which had over a thousand goals.
Top stars like Lionel Messi, Joao Felix, Carlos Sola, Karim Benzema were the top performers last season. Messi scored over 23 league goals.
1. Premier League – England
The Premier League or the EPL is a men’s professional football league in England and Wales contested by 20 teams.
The Premier League is the most competitive in the world as a prediction for possible winners at the end of every season is usually difficult compared to other top divisions across the world.
Topsides including Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, etc face high competition from other teams.
Premier League achieved by having four teams reach the finals of the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League in 2019.
Liverpool remains the most successful English teams with more Champions League titles than any other side with
Two English sides Manchester United and Liverpool have won the FIFA Club World Cup.
Manchester United is one of the big brothers of the English Premier League and is the most successful in the history of the league.
Having a legendary manager in Sir Alex Ferguson, United were leading the charge, playing as the Epl was its competition. Legendary stars like Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Andy Cole, etc.
Currently, despite the clubs average status, United is still one of the most respected teams in England with a high number of fans and followers worldwide.
The last time United won a major trophy in Europe was in 2018 when they defeated Dutch Eredivisie side Ajax Amsterdam in the UEFA Europa League final.
The cityzens are one of the top teams in England in recent times having legendary stars like Sergio Kun Aguero, Yahya Toure, Vincent Kompany, David Silva etc.
They won the league season back to back, writing the name of the club on the history books of the competition as one of the teams that have won it in consecutive seasons.
Since the arrival of Spaniard Pep Guardiola, Manchester City have stepped up to become one of the strong contenders of the EPL.
The club is arguably the best team in the country as things stand currently even as league rivals Liverpool failed to keep a high level of consistency.
Cityzens boast of star players like Sergio Kun Aguero, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Ederson Moraes, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Zinchenko.
The citizens are a high flying side that currently eyes major glory on the world stage.
The Liverpudlians had a remarkable achievement back in 2018, winning the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup.
The high-quality stars coupled together with a tactically gifted manager has been the major driving force behind the success of the Anfield landlords.
Even though consistency remains an issue for the club. It still did not change the fact that they are a good side.
Liverpool is currently England’s most successful team in the UEFA Champions League, winning over nine titles in its history.
In 2019, Liverpool won the champions league while Chelsea won the Europa League.
In 2020, Manchester City and Manchester United got closer to the finals.
Chelsea football club based in London. The blues led by Roberto Di Matteo, in 2012 won its first UEFA Champions League title after beating Bundesliga side Bayern Munich in the finals.
The London based club also went further to clinch the UEFA Europa League the following season in 2013 led by Spanish coach Rafael Benítez, who also took charge of proceedings at Liverpool at some point.
Now moving further to 2019, Chelsea also reached the finals of the UEFA Europa League, beating rivals Arsenal to lift its second trophy of the competition.
Backed by Billionaire Abramovich, the club made some notable signings in a bid to return to glory days.
Players like Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner from Ajax Amsterdam, Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig respectively.
The legends at Chelsea
Frank Lampard – Arguably one of the best in the history of the club. The English won lots of trophies and even came back as a manager to further add another trophy to his name by beating Arsenal in the final of the UEL in 2019.
Didier Drogba – The Ivorian international was one of the elites at the club, Championing the team to greatness. Even after his retirement, he has kept up with his full support for the club.
John Terry – Regarded as the Legendary captain himself. Terry during his time at the club lifted several major trophies with the club.
John Obi Mikel – Could be one of the celebrated players, but the Nigerian also had a good time with the club.
The pensioners are currently one of the best teams the EPL can offer.
The EPL has one of the highest Competition than any other league in the world.
The competitiveness of the EPL has been felt in recent years even as we see rather average sides like Leicester City, West Ham United, Southampton, Newcastle United turn out as major obstacle for bigger clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, etc.
1,034: Premier League teams score one of the highest goals in the top five European leagues.
Jamie Vardy, Sergio Aguero, Salah and Mane, arguably the best performers of the Premier League.
This article highlights the best football leagues in the world, ranking each league statistically.
The top best football leagues in the world in 2021.