The top league of Spain, Primera Division, also known as La Liga, returns to football fans with its 87th installment on the weekend of 18-20 August 2017. Twenty best teams of Spain will once again fight for title, European competitions or precious survival in the elite Primera through 38 rounds.
A total of 60 clubs have competed in La Liga since its inaugural 1929 season, but only nine of them clinched the title so far. The current champion, Real Madrid won a record 33 titles, their bitter rival, Barcelona are on second place all-time with 24 trophies. Pretty far behind the powerful duo are Atletico Madrid (10), Athletic Bilbao (8) and Valencia with 6 titles. Real Sociedad collected two La Liga’s, while Deportivo La Coruna, Sevilla and Real Betis each won it once.
For years now, Primera has been Europe’s top league, according to UEFA rankings based on results in its competitions, dominated by Spanish sides in the past 10 years. Thanks to this, four clubs from La Liga got promoted to Champions League and three to Europa League. Moreover, in season 2015-16 Primera Division had a record five teams in Europe’s elite competition, with Sevilla securing promotion as Europa League champions.
Last season Real Madrid won the La Liga title for the first time since 2011-12, ending the campaign just in front of Barca who’ve been victorious in seven out of eight seasons before that. Real almost lost the big advantage they had halfway through, but still managed to hold onto it and win the league by scoring in every single match of the campaign – the first side to do so.
Atletico Madrid recently came close to Real’s and Barcelona’s level and recorded a surprising triumph in 2013-14. They will play in the new stadium next term, but with Diego Simeone as their coach, Atleti might be able to challenge the big duo once again. Strongly reinforced, Sevilla could do the same.
Teams of Valencia, Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao, Celta Vigo and Real Sociedad are expected to fight for European spots, while all the others will have the primary goal of avoiding relegation – Deportivo, Real Betis, Malaga, Espanyol, Eibar, Alaves, Las Palmas, Leganes and new top-flight sides Levante, Getafe and debutant at the highest level of Spanish football, Girona.
The first great Real Madrid v Barcelona clash, popular El Clasico, will take place at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on December 20th. They’ll meet again at Camp Nou on May 6th 2018. Real fans will also enjoy two Madrid derbies with Atletico – the first at the brand new Wanda Metropolitano on November 19th, with return leg Real v Atletico on April 8th.
Other highly anticipated meetings are those between Basque and Andalusian clubs: Athletic Bilbao v Real Sociedad will be played on December 17th at San Mames, and four months later, on April 29th, Sociedad will be the host. Always fierce Seville derbies with Sevilla and Real Betis as participants are scheduled for January 7th at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and in the penultimate round of the championship, on May 13th, football fans in Spain will put their focus on Real Betis v Sevilla game at Estadio Benito Villamarin.
One thing is for sure – football fans do not get any more passionate than the Spanish do, when supporting their teams. If you are going to be in Spain for any of the matches, get your tickets for Spanish League games right here.