The article is divided by league's; La Liga, Segunda Division, Segunda Division B (soon to be labelled Segunda Divison B Pro) - all three of which are playable in FM21.
First up is La Liga, where last season Real Madrid won the league title;
LA LIGA (Tier 1)
Barcelona (Last Season: 2nd)To say Barca are in shambles is a bit of an understatement. A heavily ageing squad with their infamous academy stuttering to a near standstill and their transfer dealings being nothing short of terrible, it’s safe to say Barcelona are falling apart especially with the heavy over-reliance on Messi. Rebuilding the squad back to their days of not just silverware success but beautiful football and a budding academy is a real challenge for any manager out there.
Atletico Madrid (Last Season: 3rd)Simply speaking, Atletico are not a ‘super-club’. Yes, it was nice to see a disturbance in the heavily dominated Real – Barca force, but things have just continued on while Atletico this past season struggled to even get into the top four for majority of the season. It’s shocking to remember but the last title success of Atletcio was seven years ago in the 2013/2014 season with their last Copa del Rey win coming the season before that – and despite two Champions League finals appearances, still no wins and their last appearance in the final was the 2015/2016 season. It’s a bit drastic to call it a fall-out especially with recent Europa League success, but some transfers have failed, and Atletico look like a shadow of themselves from which they were the most feared side in Europe. Bringing them the success and truly breaking the duct from Barcelona and Real Madrid is a challenge which in reality, Atletico have not fully accomplished yet.
Sevilla (Last Season: 4th)Arguably Sevilla are the biggest club outside of Barca, Atleti and Real Madrid. The main reason is their freakish success in the Europa League and becoming a more permanent fixture in the Champions League as of recent seasons – however a more fervent push is needed to truly disturb the powers that be in Spain. While they did tie with Atletico Madrid on points and came fourth last season, Atleti had what is nothing short of a poor season – in fact both Barca and Real seemed to ‘underperform’ and will only look to improve drastically for the following season. The challenge does not just come from keeping Sevilla in the top four but breaking into the top three more permanently while warding off other clubs in Spain to do the same.
Granada (Last Season: 7th)A wonderful season for a club which in the 2018/2019 season were in the second tier of Spanish Football. Europa League qualifying rounds is the reward as Granada capitalized on other teams struggling such as Valencia and Athletic Bilbao. This was their highest placed finish since the 1973/1974 season, now the challenge is sustaining it. Europa League football may be a stretch too far, but with the introduction of Europe’s third tier competition, the Europa Conference League starting the following season, another similar placed finish can bring more income and establishment to Granada, making them an annoying force.
Getafe (Last Season: 8th)Getafe have only been around for 38 years. No main trophies to their name and narrowly missed out on another European campaign after their third ever took place last season. Getafe have only been on the up and look to capitalized on other poor performances from clubs surrounding them and force themselves into a consistent Spainsh European side.
Valencia (Last Season: 9th)Valencia are still held in high regard across Europe, and are commonly seen as “number 4” after Barca, Real and Atletico – but that position is now held by Sevilla. Valencia have been atrocious in recent seasons and are a far cry from where they were at the turn of the century; winning La Liga’s, Copa del Rey’s getting to the Champions League final’s and they won the Europa League and Super Cup. A ninth placed finish is anything but acceptable which cannot be masked by a Spanish Super Cup win against Barcelona at the beginning of last season.
Real Betis (Last Season: 15th)It’s hard to believe but at one point in history – 1998 to be exact – Real Betis set out a world record fee for Denilson whom at the time was 20 years old. 8 Years later he was playing in Saudi Arabia. Quite fitting for a club who are notorious for their tumultuous history, multiple relegations and utter chaos which affects every aspect of the club. For all this show – 1 La Liga title (1934/1935) and 2 Copa del Rey’s (1976/1977 + 2004/2005) are the rewards – make of that what you will including a 15th placed finish last season where it seems Real Betis are on the slide once again.
SEGUNDA DIVISION (Tier 2)
Fuenlabrada (Last Season: 8th)Founded 45 years ago after a merger between CF San Esteban and AD Fuenlabrada, the small club has been nothing short of a beautiful story in Spanish Football, quite easily being the darlings in Spain. Last season was therir first ever season in the second division and was one point off the Promotion Play-offs – they ended up finishing 8th. Majority of their life they have languished in between the 4th and 3rd tiers; where they were not that long ago in the 4th tier during the 2011/2012 season – quite the decade for the small club. Within a municipality of Madrid – a population of under 200,000 and a stadium of 5,400 – gaining promotion to La Liga would be nothing short of a miracle.
AD Alcorcon (Last Season: 10th)Some of you may have heard of this club and that is because this club pulled off one of the most famous upsets in Copa del Rey history by beating Real Madrid 4-0 at home in the first leg match. They lost 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu in the second leg but knocked out Real 4-1 on aggregate. After that famous match, they were promoted to the second tier at the end of the same season for the first time in their history. Things looked to be on the up, however they have stalled and currently sit as a mid-table side in the second division.
Malaga (Last Season: 14th)At the start of the decade things looked excellent for the club as investment and new owners came about from Qatar. A season later they qualified for the Champions League for the first time ever in their history and infamously were knocked out by Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund by two late stoppage time goals. Immediately however issues arose, the following season Malaga was banned by UEFA including other clubs for its debts for one season. Immediately players were sold and Manuel Pellegrini left, since 2013 Malaga have been on a steady declined, finishing mid-table in the second tier last season.
Espanyol (Last Season: 20th - Relegation from La Liga)Well known for the other club being based in Catalonia, Espanyol are the little brothers to Barcelona. Under new Chinese ownership, it was touted that Espanyol would try its best to start to compete at the top end of the table and get into the Champions League. That was stated in 2016 – last season they were relegated by finishing dead last in La Liga, complete opposite of what everyone was hoping. They were even competing in the Europa League last season but that could not stop what was poor performances from Espanyol in La Liga. The upcoming season is hope for a quick rebound to the top tier where hopefully they can start to build and fulfill their ambitions.
UD Logrones (Last Season: 1st - Promoted from Group Playoffs)Founded in 2009 after the extinction of CD Logrones, they have spent their whole history in the third tier – that is until they got promoted after the end of last season. This also means that the province of La Rioja will now have a professional club for the first time in 20 years after CD Logrones were relegated.
Real Zaragoza (Last Season: 3rd - Lost in promotion playoffs)Zaragoza have spent majority of their life in La Liga, but recently are now languishing in the second tier after being relegated in the 2012/2013 season. Their past is quite impressive, especially in the 90’s and early 2000’s where 3 Copa del Rey wins (out of 6), 1 Supercopa de Espana and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup covers the trophies in that time frame. La Liga form was a bit indifferent during the time but Zaragoza were a side not to take lightly – now it’s just a club of “has been’s”.
SEGUNDA DIVISION B (Tier 3)
Deporivo La Crouna (Last Season: 19th - Relegation from Segunda Division)What a fall from grace for Deportivo La Coruna. They were one of the clubs to disturb Real Madrid and Barcelona’s somewhat dominance at the turn of the century with a La Liga title in the 1999/2000 season. They also reached the semi-finals of the Champions League during the 2003/2004 season. Their decline was at the turn of this past decade where they bounced in between both the first two tiers before being relegated in the 2017/2018 season. It would seem they would still be a yo-yo club especially as the 2018/2019 season saw them lose to Mallorca in the promotion playoffs – but now they will play in the third tier for the first time in 40 years.
Coruxo Futbol Club (Last Season: 5th - Group 1)Cruxo have spent majority of their history within the regional leagues of Spain and amateur football. However they won their first promotion to the Segunda Division B back in 2009/2010 where they have remained ever since. Mid-table performances have stagnated the club with no major silverware or excitement to boast about to date.
Cultural y Deporiva Leonesa (Last Season: 2nd - Lost in Promotion Playoffs)Cultural Leonesa have a bit of a cult status as of late for a few reasons. In the 2014/2015 season they released a kit design which looked like a tuxedo which gained huge media attraction – they also beat Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey Round of 32 last season. Things for this small club look to be on the up as a link with Leeds United saw a form of loan and academy partnership which is based off the Qatari Aspire Academy buying 99% of the shares of the club. A decent base could allow the club to slowly rise through the ranks of Spanish football.
Arenas Club de Getxo (Last Season: 15th - Group 2)Arenas was one of the founding members of La Liga back in 1928 alongside neighbors Athletic Bilbao. However, they quickly fell from the top flight and have spent almost all their life in the fourth tier where after several poor seasons recently they look to be heading back to.
Racing de Santander (Last Season: 22nd - Relegation from Segunda Division)Another club who were one of the founding members of La Liga. It would be hard to picture Racing in the lower tiers of Spain as recently as 2010/2011 they finished 12th in La Liga. However back to back relegations saw them plummet to the third tier where they now seem to have a more permanent home. Despite two times being promoted back to Segunda Division this past decade they perform poorly and immediately drop back down. Will they ever rise back up to La Liga again?
Real Union (Last Season: 17th - Group 2)Similar path to Arenas Getxo – founding members and quickly plummeting to the lower tiers of Spanish football. Uniquely Alfonso XIII gave this club Royal Approval and in the early days they also provided Spain with several players during the 1920 Olympic Games. The only recent note to date is that they provided Real Madrid their first loss to a Segunda Division B team by beating them 6-6 on away goals in the 2008/2009 Copa del Rey Round of 32.
Gimnastic de Tarragona (Last Season: 14th - Group 3)Gimnastic is one of the oldest football clubs in Spain and an even older Sporting Club. Despite this they have only spent four seasons ever in the top flight with their last in the 2006/2007 season and majority of their life between the second and third tiers of Spanish football. Now dwindling in mid-table of the third tier, Gimnastic seem to be in threat of disappearing into mediocrity and potentially drop further down into the regional divisions after the restructuring occurs in Spain.
FC Andorra (Last Season: 9th - Group 3)Despite being established in Andorra – the club have played in the Spanish football league system basically their whole lives – and are the biggest team in the country of Andorra one could argue. Their owner is also Gerard Pique – bringing some publicity to the small club. Their rise recently through the divisions have been spectacular as in 2010/2011 they were competing in the 7th tier of Spanish football. Recently one of the biggest business groups in Andorra signed an agreement with the club – who knows where they may find themselves soon.
Lleida Esportiu (Laston Season: 5th - Group 3)Born in 2011 – the club has been agonizingly close to being promoted to the second tier nearly every season since their historic club UE Lleida was liquidated. They also have a few decent Copa del Rey performances to boast about as they overcame a 3 goal deficit in the second half of the second leg against Real Sociedad. Could luck finally fall on their side this year and get out of the third tier of Spain?
UD Ibiza (Last Season: 2nd - Lost in Promotion Playoffs)Last season the club played in the Copa del Rey for the first time and narrowly lost to Barcelona 2-1 having led them with 20 minutes to play. This is only their sixth season in existence and their third in Segunda Division B – narrowly missing out on promotion last year. What a party it would be if promotion did occur?
UD Tamaraceite (4th - Won in Promotion Playoffs)Based in the Canary Islands – this is the first time this club has been in the third tier of Spanish Football, winning promotion last season. Best of luck to them as they strive to battle it out and stay in the third tier.
Best of luck in your FM21 saves. Stay safe and stay healthy.