The top-flight in Spain kicks off this coming weekend, and it has been an interesting summer of activity in Spain. Barcelona have strengthened with the signing of Antoine Griezmann, while Real Madrid have spent nearly a quarter of a billion in bringing in new players. Atletico Madrid have also freshened up their squad in their biggest shake-up for many years, but which team is in the best position to finish the season as La Liga champions?
Barcelona (6/10 with BetXChange)
The current La Liga champions are best placed to win the next championship again. They have won the last two titles and won last season by nine points, and only lost three times. They have strengthened considerably over the summer with the arrival of Antoine Griezmann, and their summer business may not be over yet, with the club increasingly confident of beating Real Madrid in signing Neymar from PSG. How Ernesto Valverde manages to integrate his embarrassment of riches in the attacking areas will be crucial in their chances. Lionel Messi ensures that they will remain the favourites regardless of what other teams do, but Valverde must be careful in bringing in so many attacking players which could affect the performance and influence that Messi can have on the field. The club also brought in Frenkie de Jong from Ajax, and he could be the perfect replacement for Ivan Rakitic in the midfield area. They are the team to beat, and it’s no surprise that Barcelona are the BetXChange favourites to win La Liga.
Real Madrid (33/20 with BetXChange)
Last season was a disaster for Real Madrid. They finished below their city rivals Atletico, and following a disastrous reign of Julen Lopetegui, Zinedine Zidane was brought back to the club. The three-time Champions League winner did little to raise the quality as Madrid crashed out of the European Cup at the hands of Ajax, and their end to the season was weak. Zidane has wasted little time in rebuilding his squad and has brought in Eder Militao, Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo. There could yet be another big name arrival in Madrid with Zidane hopeful of temping Neymar to the club. However, it would seem that the Brazilian has his heart set on a return to Barcelona. Pre-season has been an eye-opening period for Zidane, with defensive issues still clearly the root of the problem. The most notable example of this was their 7-3 defeat against Atletico. There is work to be done at the Bernabeu, and it is hard to see them mounting a serious La Liga title challenge.
Atletico Madrid (12/1 with BetXChange)
It’s fair to say that a lot of people are excited to see this new look Atletico Madrid team play this season. They have seen Diego Godin and Griezmann depart the club, but they have more than replaced the talented duo. Felipe, Renan Lodi, Kieran Trippier and Mario Hermoso have come in to strengthen the defensive areas, while the arrival of Joao Felix has excited the whole of world football. The 19-year-old became the youngest player to ever score a European hat-trick in the knockout stages last season, and his £100 million move could be a move that ensured Atletico are a serious La Liga threat for years to come. They have been near perfect throughout pre-season, and have won five of their six fixtures. Joao Felix showcased his talents in the final warm-up game in Stockholm against Juventus where he outshone compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo to score twice in Atletico’s win. It could be a massive season in Madrid for this specific side, as they could finish about their neighbours for the second consecutive season.