Former Liverpool left-back Jose Enrique believes LaLiga cannot compete with the Premier League, particularly in the absence of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018, before returning to Manchester United on deadline day this year, while Barcelona’s financial difficulties forced Messi to find a new club in August, joining Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.
The departure of the superstar pair from the Spanish league has coincided with LaLiga falling behind other top European leagues financially – especially the English top flight.
As a result, Jose Enrique expects clubs from the two leagues to have dramatically different fortunes in the Champions League, tipping Premier League sides for more success after the all-English final last season as Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0.
He said: “Ronaldo is not at Madrid, Messi is not at Barcelona. Now, listen, on TV sometimes people just wanted to watch those teams because of those two.
“That’s the reality. And obviously, the income is not gonna be the same. But again, Madrid and Barcelona they are always two teams that in two legs they can beat you. Madrid, I believe more. A little bit more even if they’re struggling.
“But obviously the Premier League, even with the COVID situation. Look at Chelsea who won the Champions League and went out there and spent 100 something million and bought Lukaku. So you can’t compare at the moment.
“Listen, in our game of football, anything can happen. But I [think] the strongest teams, they’re gonna be the English teams, definitely, in the Champions League.”
It is not only the Premier League that Jose Enrique thinks is ahead of LaLiga, with the 35-year-old explaining that the wages on offer in Serie A are also superior to those in Spain.
“For example, Italy I see them as strong as well, the Italian League,” Jose Enrique continued. “And now I know how much they pay to the players and everything and I know in Italy they’re paying quite good, even normal teams.
“In Spain, they’re not paying nearly that much compared with some of the fees that they’ve been [doing] there.”