La Liga

La Liga

Get La Liga matches Predictions & Updates, as the top Spanish clubs battle for glory!

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La Liga teams

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Messi Last year's La Liga season was one of the most exciting in recent memory, with Barcelona pipping their great rivals Real Madrid to claim the title, with Atletico Madrid just behind them in third place.

The big three are a long way ahead of the rest in La Liga these days, with Diego Simeone doing brilliantly to keep Atleti in close contention despite the vast riches of both Barca and Madrid.

 

While Real Madrid missed out on the league title for another year, they were able to collect an 11th European Cup title by beating Atletico on penalties in the final of the Champions League.

Barcelona have been made the early favourites to successfully defend their league title again, but there is not much to choose in the bookmaker odds between them and Real Madrid.

Celta Vigo were one of the surprises of the season last year, finishing in sixth place and qualifying for the Europa League as a result, but they were just behind Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao.

At the bottom, Levante, Getafe and Rayo Vallecano were the three teams to drop out of the Spanish top division, with Alaves, Leganes and Osasuna promoted up to La Liga.

La Liga 2016/17: Key Facts

The new La Liga season is set to get under way on August 19, with the fixtures for the new campaign revealed by the authorities on July 15.

Malaga kick off the season at home against newly-promoted Osasuna in the Friday night slot, with Barca then in action the following day as they start their title defence against Real Betis.

Real Madrid open their campaign at Real Sociedad, while Atletico host Alaves, with both of the Madrid teams in action on the Sunday of the weekend.

The first El Clasico of the season is scheduled to take place at Camp Nou on December 4, with the return game back in Madrid set for April 23, just a month or so before the end of the season. Atleti host Real on November 20, with the reverse fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 9.

It has been confirmed that the last round of fixtures are set to take place on May 21, while at least one of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid could then be involved in the final of the Champions League, which is being held on June 3 at Cardiff's Principality Stadium.

Prize money in La Liga this season is set to be bigger than ever before, with the exact figures yet to be announced by the authorities. Barcelona and Real Madrid both received 140 million euros last season, while Atletico's share was 42 million, which is likely to rise by a lot this time out.

La Liga Favourites

Barcelona Barcelona have been made the favourites to claim the La Liga title yet again, with a price of 8/11 a sign of how confident the bookmakers are that Luis Enrique's team will continue to dominate.

Luis Suarez

Barcelona But Real Madrid ended last season in terrific form and they have also got the confidence of winning the Champions League under their belts, so it promises to be another close contest.

Gareth bale

A thrilling season looks to be in store in Spain this year, with Real Madrid's odds of 6/4 reflecting the fact that the bookmakers appear to believe it will be a two-horse race between the two giants of the game this year.

Barcelona's defence was their weak point last season and Enrique has strengthened this area of his team with the purchase of Samuel Umtiti from Lyon, the young centre-back starring in the latter stages of Euro 2016 on international duty with hosts France, who reached the final.

Andre Gomes Andre Gomes is another Euro 2016 star who will be lining up at Camp Nou this season, with the Portugal midfielder adding an extra layer of depth to the Barca midfield. It is likely that Gomes will be brought through into the team gradually, but it is possible his arrival could be with half an eye on the retirement of Andres Iniesta, with the 32-year-old coming towards the end of his career.

Left-back Lucas Digne has also been brought to Barcelona from Paris Saint-Germain and it is now hard to find a weakness in the Barcelona squad, although Enrique would like to add to his forward options and have more alternatives for the fabled MSN front line consisting of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

Real Madrid could get a small advantage as Neymar is likely to miss a couple of games at the start of the season as a result of his involvement in the Olympic Games with Brazil. Neymar elected to skip the Copa America earlier in the summer - where team-mates Suarez, Messi and Javier Mascherano were all in action - and he will be Brazil's star man at the U23 tournament.

It has been a strangely quiet summer at the Bernabeu in terms of transfers, with Alvaro Morata brought back to the club after a successful spell at Juventus, although Madrid might yet look to cash in on the Spain international striker.

Paul PogbaMadrid coach Zinedine Zidane has hinted that a move for Juventus star Paul Pogba could yet be on the cards, despite Manchester United also holding a strong interest in the France international midfielder, with Morata possibly moving back to Turin as part of any deal for Pogba.

The arrival of Pogba could make all the difference for Real Madrid in the title race, but there is a lot of work to do to complete the transfer, even though Juventus need to raise funds following the £75 million signing of Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain from rivals Napoli.

La Liga dark horses

Atletico MadridAccording to the bookmakers, La Liga is going to be a two-horse race this year, but Atletico Madrid will have something to say about that. Priced at 12/1, they might just be the best value of the three contenders to take the title.

A handful of canny additions should have strengthened Atleti for the new season too, with Nico Gaitan brought in from Benfica to add unpredictable creativity in the final third, while Sime Vrsaljko will challenge Juanfran for the right-back role. Diogo Jota, a superbly talented 19-year-old Portuguese winger, could be one for the future but might also break through this season.

Antoine GriezmannPerhaps Atletico's chances depend on the club being able to sign a new high-class striker to play alongside Antoine Griezmann, whose six goals for France at Euro 2016 earned him the top goalscorer award for the tournament.

Keeping Griezmann is a massive boost for Atleti, but they cannot afford to be too reliant on the brilliant diminutive forward, who looks set to compete with Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the Ballon d'Or this year.

Diego CostaFernando Torres remains at the club but Simeone is reportedly trying to seal a deal to bring Diego Costa back to the Vicente Calderon after a mixed spell in the Premier League at Chelsea. Should Atletico sign Costa, their odds of 12/1 are likely to be significantly reduced.

La Liga Players to Watch

Gareth Bale

Ronaldo could miss the start of the season due to a knee injury sustained in the Euro 2016 final, while his exploits at that tournament could also lead to residual tiredness, making it hard for him to hit his highest levels.

But even if Ronaldo is not quite at his best, Real Madrid can call upon Gareth Bale - who had a brilliant Euro 2016 with Wales reaching the semi-finals - while striker Karim Benzema should be fully refreshed after missing the tournament.

Barcelona's strikeforce of Messi, Suarez and Neymar is the best in the league, if not in the world, but perhaps just as influential is the classy midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who makes the team tick.

Messi is the 15/8 favourite to claim the top goalscorer prize in La Liga this year, while Ronaldo can be backed at 2/1. Suarez, who was irresistible last season as he won the award, can be backed at odds of 5/2 to be the top goalscorer, while Neymar is offered at odds of 12/1 in this market.

Benzema at 25/1 and Griezmann at 16/1 might well be the value picks for the top goalscorer prize, especially for those who want to place an each way bet here. Paco Alcacer will want to prove Spain wrong after he was left out of their Euro 2016 squad and he is offered at a juicy 66/1.

La Liga Betting Tips

While it is understandable Barcelona are the favourites for the title, Atletico's price is simply too big to ignore and at 12/1 to win La Liga they look to be the best value selection of the big three.

However, if Real Madrid were to complete the signing of Pogba in time for the new campaign, their price of 6/4 would suddenly look a lot more tempting, as the 23-year-old has the potential to become the best player in the world and is likely to develop rapidly under the leadership of his countryman Zidane, who won the Champions League in his first season as a coach.

For Atleti to finish above Barcelona and Real Madrid, Griezmann will have to have another phenomenal individual campaign, so the 16/1 on him to be the top goalscorer in the league is also certainly worthy of consideration.

Football Expert