Real Madrid beat Málaga 2-0 to stave off Barcelona’s late charge. Barça did all they could late, but could not overcome their mid-season lull. By that I mean they lost only one more game than did Real Madrid. Zidane’s men had an incredible knack for salvaging draws with late-match winners or losses with late-match ties.

The nature of La Liga is such that Barcelona and Real seemingly ruin the entire idea of a competitive league, but European showing by the other squads tells a different story. It could very well be that the two giants sharpen the rest of the group, or that they are simply supernovas in a league of shinning stars.

The Premier League is by far the richest, but that wealth makes it easy to throw money at the problem of team building. That is a method has a history of working, but only against comparatively poorer teams. PSG dominated Ligue 1 with that strategy until Monaco won this year. In the cracks of a team’s construction – before all that talent gels, and near the end when they have crusted over – that a team can jump up and bite the giants.

In La Liga, the constant pressure from the other giant spurs the sharpening of the team. In the last couple of seasons, Real and Barça have put up 30+ match unbeaten streaks. They have won the last three UCL titles, and Real has another final to play next month. The dominance is not just of the league, but of world football.