Not a very long ago, football was mainly known because of different global tournaments like world cup, confederations cup, Euro, Copa America, etc. These tournaments take place after certain years among nations from almost every part of the world. But within the last several decades, the scenario has changed by a mile. Currently different domestic professional soccer leagues are more popular among fans and they are also getting more and more media coverage than a few years back.
In recent years, several leagues, especially the European ones, have gained much audience and fans or media attention. These leagues feature world-class footballers in the world and thus generate a buzz among the fans, followers, sponsors, pundits, in short, the entire football universe. When there’s no international football action being featured, domestic leagues rule the football world all over. Now, if you’re a new soccer fan, you would obviously ask which domestic leagues are on the top list in the world to enjoy.
There are certain parameters on which the ranking of the top football leagues is based, such as global popularity or TV viewership, social media buzz & coverage, clubs’ success in continental tournaments and their revenue generation record, presence of top-rated players, etc. After much consideration of all these criteria, we’ve come out with the top 25 professional soccer leagues of the world. Take a look at them below.
25. Cypriot First Division, Cyprus
The top-tier domestic soccer league in Cyprus is known as the Cypriot First Division, and it’s run by the Cyprus Football Association. In the current format, 12 teams contest for the league title and the tournament usually takes place from August to May of the year. The last standing two teams get relegated and replaced by the top two teams of the second division. The champion of Cypriot First Division qualifies for the UEFA Champions League, whereas the next two standing teams promote for the Europa League. The most famous name from this division is surely APOEL FC who is the only Cypriot club to reach the quarter-finals of UCL and UEL of the respective 2011-12 and 2016-17 seasons.
24. Czech First League, Czech Republic
The official name of Czech first-tier football league is Czech First League, also known as Fortuna Liga. It’s also the nation’s primary football competition. The usual season runs from August to May and currently, there are 18 teams competing in the 2020/21 season for the title due to the COVID-19 pandemic aftermath. Among all the teams in the league history, Sparta Prague is the most successful one as they clinched the title 12 times.
23. Allsvenskan, Sweden
Considering the performances in European competitions over the last 5 years, Allsvenskan currently ranked 23rd in the UEFA coefficients of league in the 2021-22 season. This top-flight Swedish football league has been running since 1924 and according to the 2021-22 format, 16 teams represent this tournament. The champion qualifies for the UCL each season, while the next two teams play in the UEL. The most successful team in the league is Malmo FF, where Zlatan Ibrahimovic started his professional football career.
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22. Super League Greece, Greece
One of the most popular European football leagues considering the massive fan following is the Greek Super League. Current official format started in 2006 and 14 teams participated in this tournament. The top 2 teams get promoted to the UEFA Champions League whereas the 3rd to 5th positions get the entry in the Europa League. The last standing two teams get eliminated to the second tier. The current champion is Olympiacos FC, who is also the most successful Greek team as well in both domestic and international arenas.
21. Croatian First Football League,Croatia
Since 1992, Croatian first football league has been the top tier domestic tournament of the nation. It consists of 10 Croat soccer teams competing for the title, while the top 2 teams enter the qualifying phase of the UEFA Champions League. The most successful club in the league is Dinamo Zagreb who clinched the trophy 21 times. They are also the current Champions of the 2020/21 season.
20. Swiss Raiffeisen Super League, Switzerland
Just a few nights back, BSC Young Boys stunned the entire football universe as they defeated ManU in the first match of the 2021-22 UCL season. It’s actually not a surprise to many fans anymore as Switzerland football has improved a lot in the last few years, and so does Swiss domestic football. Raiffeisen Super League is one of the oldest domestic leagues, running since 1898. Current format has been running since 2003 where 10 clubs compete. Current champion is also the BSC Young Boys.
19. Danish SuperLiga, Denmark
Despite being a small country, Denmark is full of passionate soccer fans. Denmark National Football Team was the semi-finalist of the Euro 2020, and at present at the 10th spot of FIFA ranking as per the 2021-22 season. Their domestic soccer tournament, the Danish Superliga, is also on the rise in recent times. It officially started in 1991, and 12 teams fight for the title each season. The champion of Danish Superliga enters the second qualifying round of the UCL. The bottom two sides get relegated to Danish 1st Division and replaced by the two teams of the same. FC Copenhagen and FC Midtjylland are the two teams who are historically the most successful ones in the division, but the current reigning champion of 2020-21 season is Brondby IF.
18. Ukrainian Premier League, Ukraine
The highest division of the Ukrainian soccer championship is the Ukrainian Premier League which officially started its journey in 1991 after the nation’s declaration as an independent country from the Soviet Union. Up to the 2021-22 season, only two flagship teams in this competition match the European standards, and they are Shakhtar Donestk and Dynamo Kyiv. The trophy has also been rotating between these two teams for ages. They have also gone to the further stages in the UCL several times.
17. Austrian Football Bundesliga, Austria
Austrian Football Bundesliga, highest level domestic football league of Austria officially started from 1974-75 season. Despite running for more than 3 decades, the Austrian league failed to make a big buzz and almost lost in the shuffle due to missing out on many quality teams. This tournament is represented by 12 teams fighting for the title, and among them, the most successful teams are FC Red Salzburg, Austria Wien and Rapid Wien who won the titles respectively for 12, 7 and 10 times as of the 2021-22 season. Red Bull Salzburg, the current champion of the 2020-21 season has been running a championship streak for 8 seasons.
16. Chinese Super League, China
Chinese Super League (CSL) is the top division Chinese football tournament. The league was first inaugurated only 17 years ago, and just 32 teams have competed so far into it. In the current format of 2021 year, 16 teams fight for glory. Guangzhou is the most championship winning side. On an average of around 25,000 viewers follow the league matches which is the sixth-highest in the world.
15. Argentine Primera División, Argentina
Argentine Primera Division is the premier football division of Argentina, organized by Argentine Football Association (AFA). Argentina is the Latin nation that’s famous for producing many talents over many periods of time. But the majority of them switch their career to the European side. Still, the Argentine Primera Division is one of the most acceptable soccer leagues in the entire world. It’s also one of the most ancient competitions in the world as it’s been running since 1891. Considering the South American region, the Argentine Primera Division is just after the Brazilian domestic Serie A. Two of the most historic arch-rival soccer teams in the world Boca Juniors and River Plate are the most historic sides of this league. Boca Juniors is the current champion of the 2019-20 season, but the most successful club is River Plate. As per the 2021-22 season, there’re 26 teams fighting for the top position. The tournament follows a single round-robin format. The champions are promoted to the Copa Libertadores, which is the most prestigious international tournament organized by the CONMEBOL.
14. Scottish Premiership, Scotland
After the official launch of the tournament just 8 years ago in July 2013, Scottish Premiership has quickly become one of the most followed domestic soccer tournaments in the European region. In the current format of the 2021-22 season, 12 clubs compete in this tournament whereas the top 2 sides get promoted to the UCL, and the last standing team gets relegated. The top team of the Scottish Championship, the 2nd tier soccer tournament of Scotland gets promoted for the next season. Since the debut season, Celtic ran an undefeated championship streak of winning it consecutive 7th times since the 2020-21 season. Rangers FC finally broke their running spree and clinched the title under the managership of Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard in the 2020-21 season. They also did it in an astonishing fashion, as the side was undefeated in the entire season, 38 matches to be specific and gained a total of 102 points! You certainly haven’t heard of such records on many occasions, right?
13. EFL Championship, England
So far, only the top-tier or the first division domestic tournaments have been included in this top soccer tournament list. But despite being the 2nd division league, the EFL championship makes it to this queue due to the football quality, intense competition of the participating teams, media coverage, fan following, viewership, etc. The English Football League Championship, formerly known as the Football League Championship until 2016, is the 2ndhighest overall in the English football league system just after the Premier League. The current format of the EFL Championship was first introduced in the 2004-05 season. The league is contested by 24 teams, and the top two sides are automatically promoted to the Premier League whereas the remaining four spots from 3rd to 6th play in a play-off tournament to determine the third team joining the other two in the 1st division English football. The bottom 3 spots get demoted to the Football League One, the third-tier football competition. This tournament is the wealthiest non-top flight soccer division in the world and the ninth richest football competition in entire Europe. The average match attendance is almost more than 20,000, which is the highest in any 2nd division football league, and overall, the tenth in the entire football world. Norwich City FC is the champion of the last 2020-21 season. Watford FC and Brentford FC are the other two teams getting the promotion in the next 2021-22 season.
12. Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, Brazil
Brazil is almost the synonym of football, as they have a long glory and history regarding this game. They are the most successful national side in football history and had heck of big stars coming every now and then. But compared to their national team success, their domestic soccer league isn’t up to the same mark. Still, it’s better than many European competitions considering the game standard and players’ quality. The league officially started in 1959 and is currently being completed by 20 clubs as per 2021-22 season. As per the impressive continental records and huge international tournaments’ success, the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A is the most successful domestic soccer competition in the South American region. Some of current Europe’s best footballers including Neymar Jr, Roberto Firmino, Alisson Becker, and so on have their initial roots in this league. Flamengo is the current champion of the year 2020, whereas most titles were won by Palmeiras.
11. SüperLig, Turkey
The top-flight soccer competition in the Turkish Football League System is the SüperLig. The tournament is run by the Turkish Football Federation and consists of 20 clubs according to the 2021-22 season format. The champion side will qualify for the group stage of UEFA Champions League, and the runners-up enter in the 2nd qualifying round. The 3rd to 5th place teams qualify for different stages of the UEL tournament. The bottom 3 spots of the tournament get demoted to the second division. SüperLig has strong sides like Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Besiktas, Trabzonspor, Basaksehir, etc. Galatasaray has won the title 22 times, the most by a Turkish club.
10. Belgian First Division A, Belgium
Belgium is the current top-standing team in the FIFA ranking of soccer teams of 2021. Just like the national side, their official domestic first division league has also evolved in recent times. The tournament is one of the oldest in football history, as it was first founded in 1895 and 74 clubs have so far competed in this tournament. 18 clubs are currently fighting in the 2020-21 season. The top two sides qualify for the third round of UCL whereas the 3rd place goes for the Europa League playoffs. The bottom three teams get relegated to the 2nd division. The champion of the 2020-21 season was Club Brugge. The most successful side in the league is Anderlecht.
9. Eredivisie, Netherlands
Very few countries have a long football history like the Netherlands. Their club level football competition is also quite famous for their glorified history and quality of the teams. The Eredivisie is the top-level professional football league in the Netherlands, arranged by the Royal Dutch Football Association. This tournament formally started its journey in 1956 and is now being played by 18 teams following the 2021-22 season. The entire tournament is a real competitive one due to the quality of teams like AFC Ajax, AZ Alkmaar, PSV Eindhoven, Feyenoord, FC Twente, etc. Ajax was the champion of the last 2020-21 season and the most successful Dutch side as well as they have won the title 35th times. Different Eredivisie teams’ youth academies are really famous for building up young promising talents.
8. Russian Premier League,Russia
The Russian Premier League is the top-flight professional football tournament arranged in Russia. It officially started the journey in 2001, and just within two decades, it has made a position higher up in the top soccer European football leagues. The tournament is played by 16 clubs. The top 3 places are allocated for Champions League qualifying spots, whereas the fourth and fifth teams qualify for the Europa League competition.
7. Primeira Liga, Portugal
Portugal has been a famous football nation since Eusébio to today’s CR7 era. The official domestic football league of Portugal is known as the Primeira Liga. It has been running since 1937, and at current format is competed by 18 teams. In the 2011-12 season, for the first time in 20 years, the Primeira Liga surpassed the French Ligue 1 and placed into the top five domestic football leagues in the world. Currently, it’s occupying 6th place as per the UEFA national league rankings of 2021. Porto, Benfica, Sporting CP are the top three teams on the list. The top placed two sides directly qualify for the UCL, whereas the third one has to play the qualifying round.
6. Major League Soccer, The USA
Soccer has been a popular sport in the USA recently. After the USA’s successful bid for hosting the FIFA World Cup 1994, Major League Soccer was formed as part of their campaign program. This tournament is the highest-level soccer league in the USA arranged by the United States Soccer Federation. In the current format of 2021, the competition is played between 27 sides; 24 from the USA and the rest 3 from Canada. On average, the TV viewership rose to almost about 2 million per game. Many big names including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gonzalo Higuaín, Carlos Vela, etc. played in this league over the times and contributed to its development.
5. Ligue 1, France
Not so long ago many people were kind of unheard of in Ligue 1, unlike the present time. The main reason behind the current hype on this league is due to the PSG’s recent signing of Lionel Messi in the 2021-22 football season along with Ex-Madrid Captain Sergio Ramos and with other big names as well. They had already been featuring Neymar Jr. and Kylian Mbappé. These star names are the main reason behind the current uprising TRPs of this league. Ligue 1 was inaugurated long ago in 1932 though, and many sides have emerged as dominant ones over time. Marseille and Saint-Étienne are the two most successful teams in the league history, but neither team matches the recent success of the PSG as they clinched the title 7th time in the last 9 seasons. Lyon has also made them a worthy competitor. The last 2020-21 season champion was Lille FC. Overall, Ligue 1 has been emerging as an exciting fan-favorite league of Europe. 20 teams compete in this tournament and the top 2 sides enter the UCL competition directly whereas the 3rd one plays the 3rdqualifying round.
4. Serie A, Italy
One of the most tactical gameplays and defensively sound domestic football leagues around the globe is Serie A, the official tier-1 Italian football competition. The league is one of the oldest and most prestigious competitions in entire football history. Italy is a mega-power in football and Serie A has long years of legacy. Teams like Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Roma, Napoli, etc. have long reigning football glory and achievements. In total, 20 teams participate in this domestic tournament and the top 4 sides get the chance of attending the UCL competition. Juventus is historically the most successful team to grab the most number of titles. Serie A has featured many historically famous footballers over the years. But after the departure of top two strikers like CR7 and Romelu Lukaku in the 2021-22 season, Serie A has lost its color manifold.
3. Bundesliga, Germany
Germany is very well-known as being the powerhouse of football. It has an incredible history as the most decorated national team and different domestic clubs to feature in the international level. The league is comparatively a new one than other top-listed domestic leagues, as Bundesliga was founded in 1963. 18 teams compete in the current format where the top 4 sides directly enter into the UCL whereas the 5th compete in the group stage of UEL. The last 2 standing teams get the relegation. Bayern Munich is the current and the most number of champions they have won the title 30 times!
2. La Liga, Spain
It’d be quite rare that a football fan or someone who knows little whereabouts of football, hasn’t heard of two legendary teams: FC Barcelona and Real Madrid FC. These two teams are two of the greatest sides in the club history and both are from the Spanish La Liga. Real Madrid has the record of lifting the trophy the most, 34 times. Barcelona is in 2nd position, as they have won the title 26 times. Atletico Madrid is the current champion of 2020-21 season, and they are the team who have been competing with Real and Barca in recent times. 20 teams compete for the title in a season, four advances to the UCL whereas the next two teams have the opportunity to play for the UEL title. The Spanish sides have won the UCL the most number of times.
1. Premier League, England
The English Premier League is an ideal one to be followed by all the domestic soccer leagues in the world as it stood as the best and most intensified league in the world. Considering the national team’s success, the English football team might be an utter success; but their ability to import other countries’ players and nurture them to build like an international level is quite amazing. The league is full of 20 standard level teams like Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, etc. The top 4 teams advance to the Champions League while the last 3 teams get relegated and replaced by3 teams of the EFL Championship. This league is globally broadcast live in 212 countries and watched by a live audience of around 4.7 billion! Considering the player stardom, fan base, media coverage, and financial gain, EPL is certainly the best in the world.
That’s it, we’ve come to the end of our list. Do you agree with the list, or have any different opinions? You can comment on your feedback below this write-up. You’ll surely appreciate such valuable opinions.