Main LaLiga video games, Clasico, must-have video games for high golf equipment

  • Sam Marsden, Barcelona CorrespondentJune 22, 2023 at 9:00 am ET

LaLiga fixtures for the 2023-24 season (Stream all games live on ESPN+) were released on Thursday and the new campaign is already promising after some brisk activity in the transfer market.

While Real Madrid are looking to reclaim the title from rivals Barcelona, ​​they have spent €103m to sign England midfielder Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund and may not be ready yet due to a €120m move for Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint -Germain is possible or Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane after star striker Karim Benzema left for Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, financially strapped Barca, who last season won the league for the first time since 2019, are getting closer to signing Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan on a free transfer and are looking to build on that success while balancing their balance sheets.

Atletico Madrid, who were perhaps Spain’s best side in the second half of the season under the impressive Antoine Griezmann, are hoping to break the duopoly between Barca and Madrid, as they have managed twice under Diego Simeone in the past decade.

Real Sociedad, Sevilla, Villarreal, Real Betis and Athletic Club are among the teams starting the season hoping to finish in the top four. At the other end of the spectrum, Granada, Las Palmas and Alaves have all returned to the top flight after brief stints in the second division.

Now that the games are out and managers, players and fans can – or don’t – plan their way to fame, here are the talking points.

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The opening weekend

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The new LaLiga season starts on August 12 with both Barca and Madrid starting away. Barca face a difficult journey to Getafe under Jose Bordalas, where they have often struggled in the past, and manager Xavi Hernandez complained about the length of the pitch after drawing there last season.

Madrid are also having a difficult start away at Athletic, while Atletico are up against newly promoted Granada at home. Sevilla vs Valencia and Villarreal vs Real Betis are both games to watch in the opening weekend of the season as well.

Barcelona’s Montjuic move

Barca are venturing into the unknown this season by exiting the Spotify Camp Nou while the stadium undergoes renovations. In the meantime, they will play at the Olympic Stadium in the city’s Montjuic area for around 15 months, reducing the capacity of their stadium from 100,000 to 50,000. Xavi has said it will be difficult to get used to but hopes it won’t affect the rebuild he is undertaking at the club.

First in Montjuic will be Cadiz in the second week of the season (20 August), but Barca have to play three of their first four games away. After Cadiz, ahead of September’s international break, they face challenging matches in Villarreal (27 August) and Osasuna (3 September), two teams who finished in the top seven last season.

That tough run will be followed by three out of four home games including Real Betis, Celta Vigo and Sevilla before October looks uncomfortable. At a time when meetings in the Champions League are becoming ever closer, Barca face Athletic (October 22), Madrid (October 29) and Real Sociedad (November 5) in the league.



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Also Real Madrid on the way

Like Barca, Madrid also start a series of away games while work on the renovation of the Santiago Bernabeu continues. After the Athletic game, they travel to Almeria (20 August) and Celta (27 August). However, unlike Barca, they will be back at their home stadium in September when they host Getafe (September 3) in a Madrid derby.

If Madrid can get a positive result at Athletic’s San Mames in the opening weekend, they should be in good shape with those encounters ahead of the first international break. However, tougher tests await them after that as Real Sociedad and Atletico play back-to-back games in mid-September and back-to-back away games against Sevilla and Barca at the end of October.

Can Atletico build on a strong finish?

Atletico’s form in the second half of last season allowed them to move significantly closer to Madrid in the table, although they ended up just edging behind their city rivals in pursuit to finish a point behind in third place – with Barca 10 ahead them Madrid at the end. However, with 53 points from 24 games after the World Cup, they had more than anyone in LaLiga (Barca had 51), giving Simeone hope to be in the title race next year.

A home game against Granada is the perfect start to the season, but away games against Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano follow. Then it’s Sevilla at home and Valencia away before the derby against Madrid. By this point we should have a good idea of ​​how Simeone’s side will be in shape.

The other challengers

Real Sociedad finished fourth last season and this time they have to deal with Champions League football with domestic matches but they couldn’t have asked for a better start. Girona, Celta Vigo, Las Palmas and Granada are four winnable games and there’s no reason why they can’t go into their game in Madrid (September 17) with 10 or even 12 points. Under Imanol Alguacil, they often started the season very strongly.

Under Jose Luis Mendilibar, Sevilla are also hoping to continue their upward trend. He has taken them from relegation contenders to Europa League winners – and with it a place in next season’s Champions League – but expectations are now being raised. Atletico trip aside, they will be happy with their first five games, which also include Valencia, Alaves, Girona and Las Palmas.

Villarreal, Betis and Athletic will be among the other clubs aiming to finish in the top four. Athletic could benefit from not having to play in Europe on Thursdays as Villarreal and Betis both play in the Europa League.



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Games not to be missed

Athletic Club vs Real Madrid (12 August)

A trip to San Mames always represents one of the most difficult away games for Madrid and Barca, although the level of difficulty will increase as Carlo Ancelotti’s side have to go there in the first week of the season. In his second season at the club, excitement that Ernesto Valverde can lead the Basque side back to the top of the table will be high again and a heated atmosphere will await Madrid.


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Villarreal vs Barcelona (27 August)

Like Athletic, Villarreal have bothered Barcelona and Madrid in recent years, beating the latter at the Estadio de la Ceramica and narrowly losing to the Catalans last season. Adding the added spice is that former Barca coach Quique Setien is now in charge at Villarreal. He will relish the chance to gain an edge over his former employers so early in the campaign.

Atletico vs Real Madrid (September 24)

A one-sided derby has regained prominence in the last decade since Simeone took over at Atlético. The first Madrid derby of the season takes place at the start of the season and the Rojiblancos will be happy to be at home. The second leg will be played in early February.

Real Sociedad vs Athletic Club (1 Oct)

The Basque derby is one of the biggest derbies in Spain but seems particularly important this season as Athletic look to tip the balance back in their favor. La Real’s fourth-place finish and a place in the Champions League have firmly established the two-time LaLiga winners as the dominant side in northern Spain. Athletic, eight-time league champions, will want to reverse that trend. They get their first chance on October 1st in San Sebastian, the second leg in Bilbao is planned for early January.

Barcelona vs Real Madrid (29 Oct)

Arguably the biggest game in European club football, the first Clasico of the season between Barca and Madrid will take place at the end of October. It will also be the first Clasico to be played in Montjuic. It falls in gameweek 11 of the season, so Bellingham, Gundogan and all the other newcomers should be more than used to their new surroundings. The second meeting between the two giants at the Bernabeu in April could potentially decide the title.

Sevilla vs Real Betis (12 November)

In terms of atmosphere and passion, the Seville derby is in no way inferior to the Clasico and the Basque derby. The eagerness with which the anthems sound before the game gives you goosebumps. Drama often ensues on the pitch too and this year will be no different as Sevilla look to oust Manuel Pellegrini’s Betis as the city’s No. 1 under Mendilibar.

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