There’s the unwritten rule that states that in the modern game the teams with the most money will always rise to the top and that those without always end up at the bottom.
And then there’s Levante: the little team from Valencia with the smallest budget in first division that went into the 10th round of games in Spain sitting on top of the league table.
Who is Levante? It's a team with a budget of €22M, as opposed to Barcelona’s €460 million.
The squad is a bunch of players that nobody else wanted, who’s highest earning player takes home less in a season than Ronaldo or Messi take home in a fortnight.
It has spent a total of €410,000 on players over the past four years and gone out and beaten Real Madrid, Malaga and Atlético Madrid after each of those spent over €50M on signings during the past off-season alone.
Of course, the fairytale of the little team at the top of the table was never going to last and Levante has since suffered a first defeat, simultaneously saddening and satisfying the doom mongers who lamented that Real Madrid and Barcelona will always, inevitably dominate.
But so what. It is still above neighbouring giant Valencia and has more points than Málaga, which spent more money on signings in the off-season than Levante has spent in its entire history.
The remarkable thing was never the possibility of Levante challenging for top spot, but that the club that averaged around 12,000 fans for a home game last season was challenging anybody at all.
For a start, it might not even exist after almost going out of business in 2008. It was relegated from the top flight that season and finances were so dire the players went unpaid for the entire campaign.
The club subsequently went into administration and in came a new president, Francisco "Quico" Catalán: proving to be something of a revelation in Spanish football administration as a man who runs a club astutely and well within it’s means.
Under Catalán the club returned to the top flight while providing a valuable lesson to others as to how a club can be run without spending more than it earns.
So while it may no longer be defying logic by sitting at the summit of La Liga it is still giving the rest reason to think about all those other rules we take for granted.
Like the one that says that all successful Spanish teams must dominate possession. Levante hasonly had the ball, on average, 39 per cent of the time this season and has only had more possession than its opponent in one game.
But that doesn’t mean Levante isn’t a footballing side; sure it defends well and hits teams on the counter but it plays some good stuff when it has possession, players work hard for each other and know they’re limitations.
The players are a vastly experienced bunch who know what they’re doing, with a few tricks along the way – and they don’t need more of the ball than their opponents to get the job done.
And speaking of experience, there’s another trend that Levante is bucking: the fashion for youth and the obsession with unearthing the next big thing.
It’s fair to say that after having just fielded the oldest team in La Liga history with an average age of almost 32, this crop of players won’t be cropping up on any of those ‘ones for the future’ lists any time soon.
A few of them, once did, but that was over a decade ago: players like 33-year-old Francisco Farinós, who featured in the Valencia side that reached the UEFA Champions League final, played for Spain and joined Inter Milan when he was 22 – before disappearing into the Spanish second division.
Then there’s Asier del Horno, once a promising Spanish international, signed by Mourinho at Chelsea in 2005 – who left after just one season and spent the next four seasons bouncing around on loan at various clubs managing just 44 appearances in four seasons.
How about 35-year-old Juanfran: eight years ago a Spanish international full-back, who went into such a sudden decline he spent the interim before joining Levante playing for five clubs in four countries.
Or Aruna Koné, the scorer of the winning goal against Real Madrid who, before joining Levante on loan after a lean spell in the Bundesliga, had scored just one goal in three seasons for Sevilla.
Yet somehow, the ones nobody else wanted are showing everyone else how it can be done with the right attitude and commitment.
Perhaps no player better embodies this spirit more than 36-year-old Sergio Ballesteros. The 14-stones defender stereotyped as the slow, lumbering centre-half who stunned crowd and commentators alike when he beat Cristiano Ronaldo in a sprint for the ball during the victory over Real Madrid.
When asked what the secret was Ballesteros replied: "They used to use a stick, now they give me carrots."
Which bucks another footballing trend because in an age obsessed with diet and nutrition, the Levante players have been rewarded with the odd beer, pizza and paella.
As a few of those under-performing stars at Tottenham under Juande Ramos would have told you a few years ago while training on a diet of fruit smoothies, a hungry player is an unhappy player.
Being paid on time helps a player enjoy his football a little better as well.
Its a formula that 47-year-old Juan Ignacio, the coach making his top-flight debut is putting to good effect (while tearing up another unwritten rule that a team expected to be battling relegation needs an experienced, seasoned campaigner at the helm).
Of course, nobody expects Levante to be challenging the big two and it's highly unlikely it will find itself at the number one spot again but it would be wrong to suggest it's success was momentary.
It avoided relegation last season with a run of eight wins in 12 games from January to April and, if you add the second half of last season with the beginning of the current campaign, it is Spain's third best performed side.
It won’t win any trophies this season but halfway to avoiding the drop it is worthy of a winner's medal already.
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