This season, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona won the Iberdrola League and Cup, respectively. Both clubs are continuing to expand onto the European scene.
WOMEN'S FIRST DIVISION FOOTBALL LEAGUES
Spanish women's football closer to the European elite
This season, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona won the Iberdrola League and Cup, respectively. Both clubs are continuing to expand onto the European scene. The final leap, winning a continental title, is drawing ever closer. The big clubs, like Wolfsburg and Olympique Lyon, have increasing respect for the Spanish teams.
Spanish women's football is growing each season. It's not just a fad: game after game, season after season, the number of spectators flocking to the Iberdrola League stadiums is growing. And the game is becoming increasingly featured on the small screen. The most watched match in the 2016-2017 season was followed by 147,000 spectators; in the campaign we have just finished, it reached 217,000, almost a 50% bigger audience. Only the Iberdrola Women's Football League can boast such growth.
KEYS TO THE RISE OF THE IBERDROLA WOMEN'S FOOTBALL LEAGUE
There are several factors to explain the increased visibility of the Iberdrola League:
- The players' skill levels are increasing, with star signings like that of the superstar Lieke Martens by Barcelona.
- Sponsors, like Iberdrola, are becoming increasingly committed to women's football.
- Increased media exposure.
Now, at the end of the 2017/18 season it is obvious that the Spanish women's football league is closer to the elite of European football, to the most powerful leagues in: France, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway. In the past 17 Women's Champions Leagues, only two teams reached the final without being from one of these powerhouses: a Danish team in 2003 and a Russian team in 2009.
Score card for the major European women's football leagues 2017/2018.
Find out the score card for the major European leagues
SCORE CARD FOR THE MAJOR EUROPEAN WOMEN'S FOOTBALL LEAGUES
The Iberdrola League teams are close to breaking into this elite. Barcelona were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Champions League by Olympique Lyon, the great European football that dominates club competitions: the French team has won the last three Champions Leagues and a total of five titles in eight seasons. The last match, against Wolfsburg, was watched by 15,000 spectators in the stadium. Lyon also won the French league with 21 wins and a draw in 22 games - an impeccable season.
Their budget is huge (€4.5m), much higher than that of the Spanish teams, and they have some of the best paid players in the world. Eugénie Le Sommer and Wendie Renard earn around 300,000 euros from the club, advertising and being on the national team. In Lyon's galaxy of stars, Ada Herderberg stands out with 46 goals in the league and the Champions League.
European runners-up, Wolfsburg, were unrivalled in Germany. The team led by Pernille Harder (17 goals) proved its strength by winning the Bundesliga and the Cup final against Bayern in front of 15,000 spectators. Two titles to close a great year.
In England, the Chelsea women did not lose a single match either. With Francesca Kirby as their star player, they won the double after beating Arsenal in the FA Cup final in front of more than 40,000 spectators.
In Spain, the Iberdrola League was won by Atlético Madrid and the Copa de la Reina (Queen's Cup) is now on display in Barcelona's trophy cabinet. The next objective for the Colchoneras (the Mattress Makers, the nickname for Atlético Madrid) is to fight to reach the final of the 2018/19 Champions League. A competition in which, thanks to the dizzying growth of the Iberdrola League, the Spanish teams will once again face the great clubs on the continental scene.