Best Soccer Leagues In The World – Top 5 Ranked

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Watching soccer is essential to becoming a great player and understanding the game. The best soccer leagues in the world showcase players and teams battling head-to-head in intriguing fixtures.

These games can teach an aspiring player a lot about positions, tactics, and different play styles.

Five soccer leagues are a part of the “Big 5” which consists of the best teams and highest-valued players in the world. 

Watching soccer becomes easier when you follow a league. I hope to provide you with insights about the best leagues so that you can learn about the teams and key players associated with the league. 

I have been watching soccer for as long as I can remember. This list contains years of experience from watching and playing soccer at the college level. 

Key Takeaways

  • Watching soccer is essential to player growth.
  • The best leagues are ranked based on the quality of teams and how they compete in the Champions League (UCL). This is the European tournament where the champions of each domestic league play. The winner of this tournament is crowned champions of Europe. The UCL is comparable to the World Cup’s popularity and importance. 

Let’s dive into the best soccer leagues in the world starting at number five.

#5 – Ligue 1

Country: France
Average Attendance: 23,708
Revenue: $2.15B

Ligue 1 is a highly competitive league that features a lot of young talent looking to make their professional debut. Paris Saint-German (PSG) is one of the most expensive teams in the world. Their winger, Kylian Mbappe is believed to be the next greatest player in world soccer. He already won the World Cup with France in 2018 and made it to the World Cup finals in 2022 against Argentina. Mbappe scored in both finals and nearly led them to a second World Cup win in 2022 with a hat trick against Argentina. 

PSG is the dominant team in Ligue 1 with 11 league titles and is the most successful French football club. They regularly compete in the UEFA Champions League but have never won it. 

The other top teams in Ligue 1 include Marseille and Lyon. Marseille are the only French team to win the Champions League, beating the legendary AC Milan in 1993. Lyon boasts an impressive seven Ligue 1 titles being the second most successful in France. 18 teams in Ligue 1 have exciting young talent paired with season veterans.

#4 – Serie A

Country: Italy
Average Attendance: 29,537
Revenue: $2.56B

The Serie A was a difficult one to place among the top five. This league is similar to the Bundesliga in terms of the high level of play displayed by all of the teams. Serie A tends to have a bigger gap in talent between the top-tier teams in the league versus the bottom-tier teams in the league. 

The Serie A is rich in history. In the early 90’s, AC Milan was the best team in the world going unbeaten for 58 games, winning four titles and two Champions League trophies from 1988-1994. They were coached by the likes of Sacchi and Capello who were considered to be the best managers the club has ever seen. The rivalry between AC Milan and Inter Milan is one of the most captivating and intense rivalries in the world. They both play in the San Siro which is the most iconic stadium in soccer. 

Juventus, nicknamed “The Old Lady”, is another legendary team. They have solidified themselves as the most successful Serie A club. Juventus have won an astounding 36 titles since the league’s formation. Inter Milan and AC Milan both have 19 titles each. In recent years, other notable teams include Napoli and Roma. 

#3 – Bundesliga

Country: Germany
Average Attendance: 42,992
Revenue: $3.6B

What gives the Bundesliga the edge over Serie A is the consistent competition and quality found throughout all 18 teams. This league generates the second most revenue and has the highest average attendance. 

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are the top teams in the Bundesliga. Bayern Munich has won the league 32 times out of the 60 years it has been around and has won six Champions League titles. Borussia Dortmund has only won the Bundesliga five times and one Champions League title. Bayern Munich has been untouchable winning the league for 11 consecutive years. Other notable teams include Stuttgart and Schalke. 

Germany has been a powerhouse in international soccer winning the World Cup in 2014 most recently. Dortmund and Bayern are a big reason for Germany’s international success. Most of the players on that German team were developed through these clubs. 

Jurgen Klopp and Tomas Tuchel are two excellent managers who have risen to fame from coaching in the Bundesliga. Jurgen Klopp coached Borussia Dortmund which eventually led him to get the job at Liverpool in the Premier League. Since then, he has been going head-to-head with the world’s best manager, Pep Guardiola, in the Premier League. Tomas Tuchel coached Borussia Dortmund, PSG, Chelsea, and now Bayern Munich. He has won league titles and the Champions League in 2021. Both are considered to be two of the best coaches in the world.

#2 – La Liga

Country: Spain
Average Attendance: 29,584
Revenue: $3.56B

La Liga contains the two biggest clubs in the world and the biggest soccer rivalry. The “El Classico” is between Real Madrid and Barcelona and has been an ongoing rivalry for over a century. Real Madrid has won 102 El Classicos, Barcelona has won 100, and they have drawn 52 times in this historic match. Even though the league doesn’t generate as much revenue as the Bundesliga or get as many fans in attendance. Barca and Madrid have such a massive fan base that they make up for where the league lacks. 

These two clubs are considered the best clubs in the world and have produced the best players in the world. Lionel Messi (FCB), Cristiano Ronaldo (RM), Ronaldinho (FCB), Ronaldo (RM), Beckham (RM), Xavi (FCB), and Iniesta (FCB) are only a few of the long list of greats that have played at both of these clubs. Barcelona has won a whopping 27 La Liga titles and five Champions League titles. Real Madrid has won La Liga 35 times and the Champions League 14 times which is more than any other club. Barca have won 77 domestic trophies, and Madrid have won 69 domestic trophies.

The sheer dominance of these two clubs can at times overshadow the success of La Liga’s third-best club, Atletico Madrid. They won 11 league titles and were runners-up to Real Madrid in the Champions League twice in 2014 and 2016.

#1 – Premier League

Country: England
Average Attendance: 40,236
Revenue: $6.97B

The Premier League is the best in world soccer. They play at the highest level, have the most valuable squads, and are coached by the best. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham are the top teams in this league. Teams like Newcastle United, Everton, West Ham, and Aston Villa are known for having talented teams in the Premier League. The league is very competitive so let’s break down the league titles and Champions Leagues that each of the top six has won. 

Here are how many Premier League titles and Champions League titles each of the big six have won. Arsenal (3/0), Chelsea (5/2), Liverpool (1/6), Manchester City (7/1), Manchester United (13/3), and Tottenham (0/0). 

To quickly break down the Premier League for you, here are notable eras for a few of these teams. Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, Roman Abromavich’s and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, The Invincibles of Arsenal under Arsene Wenger, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester United, and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. 

Alex Fergurson is the Premier League’s most decorated manager. Manchester United are the most successful Premier League club. He led them to their 13 league titles and a historic year in 1999 winning the treble. This is when a team wins the domestic league, domestic cup, and Champions League in the same year. 

Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea and rebuilt the team from the ground up. He later acquired Jose Mourinho as the manager who led them to three of their five premier league titles. All of Chelsea’s trophies came after Roman took over the club as owner. 

The Invincibles were the 2003-2004 Arsenal team led by Arsene Wenger. They became the only Premier League team to ever finish a 38-match season undefeated. 

Pep Guardiola has transformed Manchester City. They have always been the second club in Manchester until Pep came along. They no longer chase Manchester United’s success and have instead become the world’s current greatest team. They won the treble in 2023, have won five Premier League titles, and earned their first Champions League under Pep Guardiola since 2016.

Honorable Mentions

You can find great soccer on every continent. Soccer is still becoming more popular. Here are some leagues worth noting that are growing rapidly around the world. 

Saudi League- Saudi Arabia
MLS- USA
Eredivisie- Netherlands
Indian Premier League- India
Argentine Primera Division- Argentina
J1 League- Japan

What’s the next step?

The best players in the world played or do play in these leagues. Check out our article on the best soccer players of all time to find out where they played and what made them the greatest of all time.

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Author
Ethan is the owner of Skillful Soccer and has over 20 years of playing experience. He is currently a collegiate soccer player and is thrilled to share his insights for all things related to soccer.

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