Who Has Won the Most La Liga Titles?

One of the many things that makes football so magical, so special, is its unpredictability. We’re thinking of things like Leicester winning the Premier League title or, more recently – if less shockingly – Bayer Leverkusen topping the pile in Germany; and on a week-by-week basis sides at the bottom of the table beat supposedly bigger, better clubs. These upsets and surprises are what make sport (and football in particular) so compelling.

But then there are the certainties of life: death, taxes… and Real Madrid expanding their trophy cabinet. For the record, Madrid do not have a cabinet, but a multi-room “hall of trophies” the same size as a car showroom, displaying their 14 European Cups/Champions Leagues.

In 2023/24, Los Blancos have again won La Liga, doing so with four games to spare on Saturday the 4th of May after they beat Cadiz and Girona beat Barcelona 4-2. They may yet add a 15th Champions League title this season too, with just two games between them and yet more glory at the time of writing. However, our focus in this article is the Spanish title and the simple question of who has won it most often. Most football fans with even a basic knowledge of Spanish football would know that it is a toss-up between Real and their great rivals Barca, but just who has won the most La Liga titles?

Which Club Has Won La Liga the Most?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is indeed Real Madrid who are out in front, the side from the Spanish capital’s win in 2023/24 being their 36th La Liga title. That was a record-extending victory, with the 35 wins they previously had already well clear of the second-placed team. The table below shows the clubs with the most wins in the top tier of Spanish football.

Rank Club Wins First Title Most Recent Runners-Up
1 Real Madrid 36 1931/32 2023/24 25
2 Barcelona 27 1929 2022/23 27
3 Atletico Madrid 11 1939/40 2020/21 10
4 Athletic Bilbao 8 1929/30 1983/84 7
5 Valencia 6 1941/42 2003/04 6
6 Real Sociedad 2 1980/81 1981/82 3

This table shows all the clubs with multiple Liga titles to their name. In addition to these, Deportivo La Coruna, Sevilla and Real Betis have all won La Liga once. Dépor have finished in second place an impressive/heartbreaking five times, whilst Sevilla have also finished as runners-up on four occasions.

The table really illustrates just how dominant Spain’s big two clubs have been. Their combined tally of 63 titles is far more than all the other teams combined. In fact, Real alone have won 36 titles, compared to just 30 for everyone else (aside from Barca).

Madrid Make Slow Start

Real Madrid
Real Madrid (Maxisports via Bigstockphoto)

Whilst Real, who were known simply as Madrid FC from 1931 to 1941 (due to the Spanish Civil War and attitudes at the time), are clearly the dominant force in Spanish (and of course European) football, it was not always so. Barcelona won the first Spanish league title, in 1929, with Bilbao claiming the next two.

Madrid FC won La Liga in the following two seasons but they did not claim their third title until much later. The league was suspended between 1936/37 and 1938/39 inclusive due to the Spanish Civil War but was not interrupted by the Second World War. Even so, Real Madrid did not win their third Liga until the 1950s.

At that point Barca had six titles to their name. Prior to Real Madrid winning the league in 1953/54 they sat fifth in terms of total wins, behind their Catalan rivals, city adversaries Atletico, plus Valencia and Athletic Bilbao. However, everything was to change…

1950s & 1960s a Golden Era for the Whites

A side like Real, with more silverware than Buckingham Palace, has enjoyed many eras of huge success but their first, in the 1950s and 1960s, was perhaps the most dominant. Los Blancos won the first five editions of the European Cup, from 1955/56 onwards, also claiming glory in 1965/66.

Their stranglehold on La Liga was perhaps even more complete, as they won the title on 12 occasions between 1954 and 1969 inclusive. This was the era of Ference Puskas, Alfredo Di Stefano and Paco Gento, players whose personal trophy hauls are a match for most clubs in world football, and Real were unstoppable at times.

No Real Let-Up Since

Real Madrid logoWhilst we can view the 1950s and 1960s as a glittering period for the club, there has been no real (nor any Real) let-up since, with Spain’s most successful side continuing to accumulate La Liga titles on a very regular basis. They won the league five times in the 1970s and another five in the 1980s. By their crazy standards, the 1990s could perhaps be viewed as something of an unsuccessful decade. After all, they won a mere three Liga crowns, in 1990, 1995 and 1997.

But as the new millennium rolled around they once again began adding to their roll of honours. They won La Liga four times in the noughties but again, by their standards we would have to say the 2010s was a poor decade for the club. In fact, given Real “only” won La Liga twice, in 2011/12 and 2016/17, this was their worst decade in terms of league titles since the 1940s (when they failed to win the league entirely). A certain Lionel Messi played a big part in that relative lack of success, the Argentine maestro instrumental in the seven Ligas won by Barca during these 10 seasons.

The 2020s have, even at the current halfway stage, have seen three teams get their hands on the trophy. Real won in 2019/20, Atletico the following season, before another win for Los Blancos in 2021/22. Barca then got in on the act, before Real’s 36th La Liga win in 2023/24.

The 2020s has already been a very strong decade for Real, with three league titles out of five. However, the scary thing for their opponents is that Kylian Mbappe will be wearing the famous white shirt in 2024/25. With Carlo Ancelotti managing Mbappe and Jude Bellingham, Real will take some stopping, so we predict they will be extending their lead in the seasons ahead.