Top 50 Best Football Leagues in the World Ranking 2021

Top 50 football leagues in the world

Football is a very popular sport throughout the world. It is played in almost every country around the world. When the international football scene no longer features any action, fans turn to soccer leagues in various countries. Below, we will take a look at the top 50 football leagues around the world.

In recent years, several leagues, especially in Europe, have gained much audience and attention from fans and the media.

Still, these leagues, which feature the best players and soccer clubs in the world, have generated so much buzz that pundits have had a hard time deciding that which of these leagues would be the best football leagues in the world.

TheFootballLovers have ranked the top 50 football leagues in the world. Our ranking of the best soccer leagues in the world is based on TV views/popularity, the presence of top players, social media buzz generated from league games, and the success of clubs from these leagues in various continental tournaments.

Top 50 Football Leagues Full List

RankLeague NameCountry
50Arabian Gulf LeagueUnited Arab Emirates
49Liga Panameña de FútbolPanama
48Primera División de Costa RicaCosta Rica
47Persian Gulf Pro LeagueIran
46K-League 1South Korea
45Serie BItaly
44Kazakhstan Premier LeagueKazakhstan
43Azerbaijan Premier LeagueAzerbaijan
42Nemzeti BajnokságHungary
41Segunda DivisiónSpain
40Slovak Super LigaSlovakia
39Ligue 2France
38Paraguayan Primera DivisiónParaguay
372. BundesligaGermany
36Qatar Stars LeagueQatar
35Liga IRomania
34First Professional Football LeagueBulgaria
33EliteserienNorway
32J1 LeagueJapan
31Israeli Premier LeagueIsrael
30Categoría Primera AColombia
29Chinese Super LeagueChina
28EkstraklasaPoland
27Saudi Professional LeagueSaudi Arabia
26Serbian SuperLigaSerbia
25Cypriot First DivisionCyprus
24Czech First LeagueCzech Republic
23AllsvenskanSweden
22Super League GreeceGreece
21EFL ChampionshipEngland
20Croatian First Football LeagueCroatia
19Swiss Super LeagueSwitzerland
18Danish SuperLigaDenmark
17Ukrainian Premier LeagueUkrain
16Austrian Football BundesligaAustria
15Argentine Primera DivisiónArgentina
14Scottish PremiershipScotland
13Campeonato Brasileiro Série ABrazil
12Liga MXMexico
11Süper LigTurkey
10Major League SoccerUnited States
9EredivisieNetherlands
8Belgian Pro LeagueBelgium
7Primeira LigaPortugal
6Russian Premier LeagueRussia
5Ligue 1France
4BundesligaGermany
3Serie AItaly
2La LigaSpain
1Premier LeagueEngland

50. Arabian Gulf League (UPL)

The Arabian Gulf League is the best professional football league in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is the top league in the country. The first winner of the Arabian Gulf League was Al Orouba (Sharjah), while Al Ain has the record of winning the most titles with 13 league titles to their name. Fourteen clubs compete in the league. This league is under the AFC Federation.

49. Liga Panameña de Fútbol (LPF)

The Liga Panameña de Fútbol or the Panamanian Football League is the top division football league in Panama.

The league’s season is divided into two stages. The first stage of both tournaments is combined into an aggregate table. As a result, the team with the lowest points is relegated to the second division or the Primera A for the following season. The champions of both of the tournaments qualify to the CONCACAF Champions League.

48. Primera División de Costa Rica (FPD)

Primera División de Costa Rica is the ultimate division in Costa Rica. It started back in 1999. The league consists of 12 clubs and is currently played under the system of short tournaments. It is currently placed as the second-best league in North America, only behind the First Division of Mexico.

47. Persian Gulf Pro League (IPL)

The Persian Gulf Pro League is the ultimate and premier division of professional football in Iran. It is the top-level football league in Iran. It was founded on 2 November 2001. Each year, the champion becomes the Iranian football champion.

The league comprises 16 teams. The winner and runner-up of the Persian Gulf Pro League are automatically qualified for the AFC Champions League group stage.

46. K-League 1

The K-League 1 is the men’s premier professional football division of the South Korean football league system. The league is contested by twelve clubs. At the end of the season, The K-League champions, the runners-up, and the third-placed team gain entry to the AFC Champions League the following season.

45. Serie B

Serie B is the second-highest division in Italy after the Serie A. Firstly, it has been operating for over ninety years. It was founded in the 1929–30 season.

Serie B is composed of 20 teams. At the end of the season, three teams are promoted to Serie A and four teams are relegated to Serie C.

44. Kazakhstan Premier League (KPL)

The Kazakhstan Premier League is the premier division of football in Kazakhstan. The League is under the control of the Football Federation of Kazakhstan. The league was founded in 1992. The KPL consists of 12 teams competing for the title. The league starts in spring and finishes in late autumn. This is because of the low temperatures in the winter.

43. Azerbaijan Premier League (APL)

The Azerbaijan Premier League is the top tier league in Azerbaijani club football. The league is contested by 8 teams. The season runs from August to May. The champions qualify for the UEFA Champions League, while the second and third-placed teams qualify for the UEFA Europa League. It is one of the best leagues in the list of top 50 football leagues in the world.

42. Nemzeti Bajnokság I (NB I)

Nemzeti Bajnokság I is the top level of the Hungarian football league system. The league is officially named OTP Bank Liga after its title sponsor OTP Bank. It is ranked 33rd in the UEFA rankings of European leagues and 42nd in the top 50 football leagues in the world.

The league consists of 12 teams fighting for the title. At the end of the season, the top team enters the qualification for the UEFA Champions League, while the runner-up and the third place, together with the winner of the Hungarian Cup enter the UEFA Europa League qualification round.

41. Segunda División/LaLiga 2

The Segunda División or LaLiga 2 is the men’s second best professional association football division of the Spanish football league system. It is controlled by the Liga de Fútbol Profesional.

It is contested by 22 teams. The top two teams and the winner of a play-off promoted to LaLiga, the top Spanish football league. The league was founded in 1929 by the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

40. Slovak Super Liga

The Slovak Super Liga is the top tier football league in Slovakia. The league consists of 12 teams fighting for the title. It was formed in 1993 after Slovakia gained its independence. It is under the control of the UEFA confederation. It is ranked 29th in Europe and 40th in the world top 50 football leagues. The Slovak Super Liga is one of the top 40 football leagues in the world, slowly gaining more and more popularity.

39. Ligue 2

Ligue 2 is a French professional football league. The league serves as the second division of French football and is one of two divisions making up the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), the other being Ligue 1, the top football league in France. It consists of 20 teams fighting for the title. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned champion and promoted to Ligue 1.

38. Paraguayan Primera División

Paraguayan Primera División is the top-flight professional football league in Paraguay. It consists of 12 teams fighting for the championship. The Paraguayan Primera Division have seven places in international cups (three in the Copa Libertadores de America and four in the Copa Sudamericana). These seven places are filled by five teams.

37. 2. Bundesliga

2. Bundesliga is the second division of professional football in Germany. The 2. Bundesliga is ranked below the Bundesliga and above the 3. Liga in the German football league system. The top two teams in 2. Bundesliga is promoted automatically to the Bundesliga.

36. Qatar Stars League (QSL)

The Qatar Stars League is the premier professional league in Qatar. The league was first founded in 1963, although the first official season occurred in 1972. It consists of 14 teams fighting for the league, and one club being relegated in order to make room for one club being promoted. It is the most popular league in the country and has a broadcasting deal with BEIN Sports.

35. Liga I

Liga I is a Romanian league for professional football clubs. It is the Romanian top football league. It is contested by 16 clubs, and it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with Liga II. Liga I was first established in 1909 and being currently on the 29th place in UEFA’s league coefficient ranking list. In 2019, Liga I signed a contract with EA Sports for the rights of the league for FIFA 20. It was the first time Liga I was ever featured in a sports game.

34. First Professional Football League (BFL)

The First Professional Football League, also known as the Bulgarian First League is a professional association football league, located at the top of the Bulgarian football league system. It consists of 14 teams playing for the title. The league was inaugurated in 1924. The champions of the First League have the right to participate in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League. The two UEFA Europa League spots are allocated to the second team in the final standings and the winner of the European playoffs.

33. Eliteserien

Eliteserien is a Norwegian professional league for association football clubs. It is at the topmost tier of the Norwegian football league system. The league is contested by 16 clubs. It was founded in 1937. The league winners enter the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, while the cup winners and second-placed team enter the second qualifying round of the Europa League. The third-placed team enters the first qualifying round of the Europa League.

32. J1 League

The J1 League is the premier division of the Japan Professional Football League and the top professional Soccer J.League in Japan. It is one of the most successful leagues in Asian club football. It consists of 18 clubs fighting for the league title. The top three clubs qualify to the following year’s AFC Champions League, while the bottom two clubs are relegated to J2.

31. Israeli Premier League

The Israeli Premier League is a professional football league. The league operates as the highest division of the Israeli Football League. The league is contested by 14 clubs and operates on a system of promotion and relegation with its second division Liga Leumit. The competition formed in 1999 following the decision of the Israel Football Association to form a new league. It is also ranked 21st in Europe and 31st in the top 50 football leagues in the world.

30. Categoría Primera A

The Categoría Primera A is a top tier Colombian professional league for football clubs. It is the country’s premier football tournament and is the best league in the Colombian football league system. The league consists of 20 clubs fighting for the title. It was founded in 1948. Each year, the bottom two teams drop out and are replaced by the top two from Categoría Primera B. It makes it to the top 30 football leagues in the world, a very elite group of football leagues.

29. Chinese Super League (CSL)

Chinese Super League is the highest tier of professional football in China, operating under the authority of the Chinese Football Association. The league was founded in 2004 and has since grown amazingly in popularity all over the world. It consists of 16 teams competing for the title. Some of the world’s best players have been signed by the Chinese Super League such as Oscar, Paulinho, and Hulk etc. It had an average attendance of 24,107 for league matches last year which is 12th highest for any football league in the world.

28. Ekstraklasa

The Ekstraklasa is the top Polish professional league for men’s association football teams. The league consists of 16 clubs fighting for the title. It was first officially founded as Liga Polska in 1926. It is ranked 25th in Europe according to the UEFA coefficient ratings.

27. Saudi Professional League (SPL)

The Saudi Professional League is the ultimate division of Association football league in Saudi Arabia. The first season of the competition was held in 1976. It consists of 16 teams fighting for the top position in the league. It is held under the AFC confederation. It is considered to be one of the most popular leagues in the Middle East.

26. Serbian SuperLiga

The Serbian SuperLiga is a Serbian professional league for football clubs. At the top of the Serbian football league system, it is the country’s primary football competition. The SuperLiga was formed during the summer of 2005 as the country’s top football league competition. 20 teams contest for the title in the Serbian SuperLiga.

25. Cypriot First Division

The Cypriot First Division is the best football league competition in Cyprus. It is currently run by the Cyprus Football Association. The league is contested by 12 teams. The two lowest-placed teams are relegated to the Cypriot Second Division and replaced by the top two teams in that division. The league champions qualify for the UEFA Champions League. The runner-up and third placed team in the league enter the UEFA Europa League. Thus, the Cypriot First Division makes it to the top 25 football leagues in the world.

24. Czech First League

The Czech First League is a Czech professional league for football clubs. At the top of the Czech football league system, it is the country’s primary football competition. It consists of 18 clubs contesting for the title. The league is ranked 15th in Europe in the UEFA league rankings, and 24th in the world.

23. Allsvenskan

The Allsvenskan is a Swedish professional league for men’s association football clubs. It was founded in 1924. The league is the top flight of the Swedish football league system. 16 teams contest for the title in Allsvenskan. The winners of Allsvenskan qualify for the UEFA Champions League, the runner-up together with the third placed team in the table qualify for the UEFA Europa League. The league is ranked 21st in Europe and 23rd in the world.

22. Super League Greece

The Super League Greece is the highest professional association football league in Greece. The league was formed on 16 July 2006 and is contested between 14 teams. The Super League is currently entitled to two entrants into the UEFA Champions League. The three Europa League spots go to the teams that finished 3rd to 5th. It is considered to be one of the most popular football leagues in Europe with a massive fan following.

21. EFL Championship

The English Football League Championship is the highest division of the English Football League (EFL) and second-highest overall in the English football league system after the Premier League. The league is contested by 24 clubs. Each season, the two top-finishing teams in the Championship are automatically promoted to the Premier League. The championship was founded in 2004. The Championship is the wealthiest non-top flight football league in the world and the ninth richest league in Europe.

20. Croatian First Football League

The Croatian First Football League is the top Croatian professional football league competition. It was established in 1992. The league consists of 10 teams fighting for the title. Dinamo Zagreb is the most successful club in the league, having won 21 titles overall. The winners and second placed to enter the qualifying stages of the UEFA Champions League. The top football league in Croatia is in the top 20 football leagues in the world.

19. Swiss Super League

The Swiss Super League is a Swiss professional league in the top tier of the Swiss football league system. It was first founded in 1898. The league has 10 clubs competing for the title. At the end of the league, two teams are promoted to the league and the bottom two teams are relegated. The Swiss Super League is ranked 19th in the top 50 football leagues in the world.

18. Danish SuperLiga

The Danish SuperLiga is the current Danish football championship tournament and is administered by the Danish Football Association. It is the highest football league in Denmark. The SuperLiga was founded in 1991 and consists of 12 teams fighting for the title.

17. Ukrainian Premier League

The Ukrainian Premier League is the highest division of Ukrainian football championship. It was founded in 1991. The league consists of 14 teams competing against each other. It is ranked as the 10th best league in Europe by UEFA. The clubs Shakhtar Donetsk, and Dynamo Kyiv from the league have made it into the further stages of the UEFA Champions League several times.

16. Austrian Football Bundesliga

The Austrian Football Bundesliga is the highest-ranking national league club competition in Austrian football. The winners of this league are the Austrian national football champions. The Austrian Bundesliga began in the 1974–75 season. It consists of 12 teams fighting for the title. The current champions Red Bull Salzburg has taken the whole world by surprise, beating some big clubs in the UEFA Champions League.

15. Argentine Primera División

The Primera División is a professional football league in Argentina, organized by the Argentine Football Association (AFA). It is the country’s premier football division and is the top division in Argentina. The league consists of 24 teams going against each other. At the end of the season, the three teams with the worst three-year averages are relegated. The competition was first held in 1891. The top football league in Argentina is definitely in the top 15 football leagues in the world.

14. Scottish Premiership

The Scottish Premiership is the top division of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), the league competition for men’s professional football clubs in Scotland. The Scottish Premiership was established in July 2013. There are 12 teams competing against each other in this division. The bottom placed Premiership club at the end of the season is relegated, and swaps places with the winner of the Scottish Championship. The two top placed teams in the Scottish Premiership gain qualification to the UEFA Champions League.

13. Campeonato Brasileiro Série A

The Campeonato Brasileiro Série A is a Brazilian professional league for men’s football clubs. At the top of the Brazilian football league system, it is the country’s primary football competition. It was founded in 1959 and is contested by 20 clubs.

 It is the best domestic soccer league in South America with huge successful records in continental and international tournaments. Brasileiro has the most club world cup wins and the second most Copa Libertadores titles. The league has produced some of Europe’s best players, such as Neymar Jr., Alison Becker, and Roberto Firmino.

12. Liga MX

The Liga MX is the top professional football division of the Mexican football league system. It is administered by the Mexican Football Federation. The league comprises of 18 clubs. The season has two tournaments: Apertura, which starts in the summer, and Clausura, which starts in the winter. The league is considered the strongest in North America.

11. Süper Lig

The Süper Lig is a Turkish professional league for association football clubs. It is the top-flight of the Turkish football league system and is run by the Turkish Football Federation. It consists of 18 clubs, which compete annually. Three clubs are relegated to the second tier of the Turkish flight. The top 2 teams qualify for the UEFA Champions League, while the 3rd to 5th placed teams qualify for the Europa League. The league was first founded in 1959. It is widely popular among the local people as well as all over Europe. Some of the clubs such as Galatasaray have constantly made it to the further rounds of the UEFA Champions League. A few popular players such as Pepe and Radamel Falcao play in the Turkish top flight league.

10. Major League Soccer

top 10 football league in the world

Major League Soccer (MLS) is a men’s professional soccer league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation which represents the sport’s highest level in the United States and Canada. The league consists of 27 teams – 24 from the U.S. and 3 from Canada. It was founded in 1993.

Since the MLS had its first season, the TV viewership has increased to about 2 million viewers watching a single game. In the media, MLS has been subject to constant attention. Some of the top European superstars play in the MLS. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Carlos Vela, Chicharito, and Higuain are some of the more popular players who have played in the MLS and contributed to its success and fame. It is ranked 10th in our list of top 50 football leagues in the world, and is one of the top 10 football leagues in the world.

9. Eredivisie

The Eredivisie is the highest level of professional football in the Netherlands. The league was first founded in 1956 and consists of 18 clubs fighting for the title. Ajax Amsterdam is the most successful club in the league. The club recently made it to the final of the UEFA Champions League.

It has progressed to be one of the most popular leagues in Europe. Eredivisie was ranked the 9th best football league in Europe by UEFA in 2019. In various continental tournaments, clubs that represent the Dutch Eredivisie are considered top contenders. The soccer league has produced some of Europe’s top players, such as Matthijs De Light, Frenkie De Jong, and Virgil Van Dijk.

8. Belgian Pro League

belgium top football league

The Belgian First Division or the Belgian Pro League is the top league competition for association football clubs in Belgium. It was first founded in 1895 and consists of 18 clubs fighting for the title. Each season the bottom 3 clubs are relegated to the second division of the Belgian league. The champions and the runner-up qualify for the 3rd round of UEFA Champions League qualification. On the other hand, the 3rd place team qualifies for the Europa League playoffs. The Belgian Pro League, the Belgium top football league is a very prominent league in Europe, giving rise to some very talented youngsters.

7. Primeira Liga

The Primeira Liga is the top professional association football division of the Portuguese football league system. It is organised and supervised by the Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Profissional, also known as Liga Portugal. It was first founded in 1934. The league consists of 18 teams competing for the top position in Portugal.

It is home to what is called Os Três Grandes (The Big Three), the three most powerful football clubs in Portugal. These clubs, Porto, Benfica, and Sporting CP, are the top contender in various continental tournaments, such as the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. Primeira Liga houses some of Europe’s best soccer prospects, as the clubs are continually scouting for talented youngsters. Some of the best players in the world began their career in the Primeira Liga. Such players include Cristiano Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva. The Primeira Liga has also been the starting point for top football coaches, such as Jose Mourinho and Marco Silva. Primeira Liga comes in at 7th on our list of the top 50 best football leagues in the world.

6. Russian Premier League

russian top football league

The Russian Premier League is the top division professional association football league in Russia. It was first established at the end of 2001. There are 16 teams in the competition. The league has three Champions League qualifying spots given to the top three teams at the end of the season and the two Europa League spots will be allocated to the fourth and fifth placed teams. The last two teams are relegated to the Russian National Football League at the end of the season. Some of the most popular clubs from this league are CSKA Moscow, Lokomotiv Moscow, and Zenit St. Petersburg. The Russian Premier League, the top Russian football league is regarded as one of the best football leagues outside Europe and is in the top 6 football leagues.

5. Ligue 1

Ligue 1 is a French professional league for men’s association football clubs. The league is the primary football competition in France. It is administrated by the Ligue de Football Professionnel. Ligue 1, the top football league in France is contested by 20 clubs and operates on a system of promotion and relegation from and to Ligue 2.

Ligue 1 actions are a testament to the incredible gameplay as well as the presence of world-class footballers in the league. The French domestic league, which has been in existence since 1932, has seen various clubs emerge as dominants at multiple times. Up to 1.6 million people watch a single Ligue 1 game featuring top clubs such as PSG. The league was rated the 7th best league in Europe by UEFA in 2019. There are some top players in the league such as Neymar Junior, wonder boy Kylian Mbappe, and Angel Di Maria. Thus, Ligue 1 makes it to the top 5 best football leagues in the world.

4. Bundesliga

The Bundesliga is a professional association football league in Germany. At the top of the German football league system, the Bundesliga is Germany’s primary football competition. The Bundesliga comprises of 18 teams playing against each other. The Bundesliga is the number one football league in the world in terms of average attendance. Bundesliga was founded in 1962.

It is unarguably one of the toughest in Europe. Its clubs are also very successful at continental tournaments. Bundesliga is home to top soccer talents such as Manuel Neuer, Robert Lewandowski, and Frank Ribery.

3. Serie A

Serie A is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system. Serie A is regarded as one of the best football leagues in the world and it is often depicted as the most tactical and defensively sound national league. It is ranked 3rd in the top 50 football leagues around the world.

Since soccer great Cristiano Ronaldo joined Juventus, Serie A has received increased media attention. In his debut match for Juventus, about 2.3 million tuned in to watch the star work his magic. The league, which was founded in 1898, was ranked the third-best league in Europe by UEFA in 2019. Aside from Ronaldo, top footballers in Serie A include, Lorenzo Insigne, Paulo Dybala, and Gianluigi Buffon.

2. La Liga

The La Liga is the men’s top professional football division of the Spanish football league system. La Liga is definitely the top football league in Spain. It is administered by the Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional. The league is contested by 20 teams. Real Madrid have won the title a record 34 times and FC Barcelona 26 times. La Liga is one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world. It also has the most popular football club in the world, Real Madrid. This shows the popularity of the league.

The league had over 76 million viewers watch its games during the 2018/19 season. La Liga features some of the most anticipated soccer games in the world, such as the El Clasico. Clubs in La Liga have won the UEFA Champions League 18 times and FIFA Club World Cup seven times.

1.  Premier League

The Premier League is the top level of the English football league system. It is contested by 20 clubs. The competition was founded as the FA Premier League in 1992.

The English Premier League is by far the biggest, most powerful, and best soccer league in the world right now. Its matches are broadcasted in 212 countries and reach about 4.7 billion people. Premier League, which was founded in 1992, is the second soccer league with the most average attendance in the 2018/19 season. Top players such as Mohamed Salah, Paul Pogba, and Harry Kane play in the EPL. Thus, it is the best among the top 50 football leagues in the world and also the most watched league in the world in 2021.

What do you think?