Or so we thought, the big two have both slipped up already this season and a small club from the Valencia area Levante have found themselves sandwiched between the two giants of Spanish football in the early La Liga table.
Their latest result was a 3-0 home victory over big spending Malaga. The newly rich club have the likes of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Santo Cazorla and Joaquin but they were swept aside by Levante. Levante may have been helped by Malaga having keeper Willy Caballero dismissed in the 27th minute but they still took full advantage of their extra man.
Levante have been somewhat of a yo-yo team in the last decade or so. They would get promoted and then would go down again. Last season they managed to survive relegation though and they now seem to be on he crest of a wave.
Defender Sergio Ballesteros has been something of a laughing stock for his big stature and running style. However this season the 36 year-old has been in fantastic form and nobody was laughing when the veteran defender helped his side to a 1-0 victory over giants Real Madrid earlier this season.
Ivory Coast international striker Arouna Kone has enjoyed something of a revival this season at Levante. Kone is on-loan from fellow La Liga club Sevilla and scored in the clubs recent victory over Real Madrid and also scored in Levante‘s 3-0 victory over Malaga at the weekend.
If the 27 year-old can recapture the form which earned him a move to Sevilla then he could be a key player for Levante this season.
Levante enjoyed a decent campaign last season with on-loan Manchester City striker Felipe Caicedo the star of the show. The Ecuadorian international striker scored 13 league goals to keep the club in the Spanish top flight.
The striker joined the club on a permanent basis for a fee around £900,000 this summer but then moved straight to Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow for a fee around £7.5million. This was an example of how a club like Levante has to operate. They have to sell players to survive season by season.
The club have endured bad financial problems in recent times but somehow the club have managed to stay in the Spanish top flight against all odds. The last few seasons has saw the club gain a better financial footing and courtesy of deals like the Caicedo one Levante are now looking to the future.
It may be early in the La Liga season but Levante have made a great start. I don’t think anybody expects them to be in the same position come the end of the season. However the points they have accrued so far will help secure La Liga safety, which still must be their ultimate aim for the season.
The club needs a bit of stability and a good stint in the Spanish top flight. Levante couldn’t have dreamt of making a start to the season like they have so far but they will be hoping that their good continues.
I think if you would have offered Levante fans survival this season they would have taken it and they probably still would. Levante’s is a great story and long may it continue.
Will Levante survive in La Liga this season?