Barcelona's Brazilian midfielder Thiago on Monday dismissed talk that La Liga is a two-horse race between his side and Real Madrid, the two richest clubs in the Spanish league.
Debate has raged in Spain over the state of the league after defending champions Barcelona crushed Villarreal 5-0 and Real Madrid blasted Real Zaragoza 6-0 in the opening round of matches of the season.
Earlier this month the chiefs of 12 Spanish first division clubs fighting Barcelona and Real Madrid over television rights called for the sales to be centralised under the Professional Football League to give them a better chance to compete with the two giants.
"It's a big lie that this is a league of two teams. The others come along and do their very best and try to win," Thiago told a post-training session news conference after being asked about the debate. He was speaking one day after Real Madrid suffered a shock 1-0 loss to Levante. Barcelona crushed Osasuna 8-0 on Saturday.
Real Madrid and Barcelona receive about €140million (197m USD) a year each from television rights, while small clubs such as Levante, Malaga or Real Sociedad get just €12million.
Outspoken Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido blasted the existing Spanish league as "the biggest rubbish not only in Europe but in the world," in a 29 August interview with state radio RNE just after the start of the season.
"It is a Third World league in which two clubs subtract the television money from the rest of us who are competing," he said. "We are running down the Spanish league."