With a new La Liga season upon us, the question that is asked remains the same. That question being who out of perennial arch-rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid will eventually come out on top once the campaign concludes next May?
The Catalan giants Barcelona won last season’s edition of the Spanish top flight at a relative canter and will be confident of returning to the summit once more. A feeling which is reflected when you look at the current outright La Liga betting.
Bet365 have Ernesto Valverde’s men priced at 4/6 favorites to claim successive Spanish titles and with the upheaval that has gone on in Madrid this season, you get the feeling that they will be the team to beat once again.
As always, Barcelona will be led by the mercurial Lionel Messi. The Argentine forward will be looking to put the disappointment of the summer behind him. It was one that saw him and his national side teammates meekly exit the FIFA World Cup at the round of 16.
For now, the focus is on domestic matters. At the same time, though, Barcelona are making no secret of their desire to conquer Europe once more. Not since 2015 have they been the kings of the continent, as Champions League success has eluded them.
Not only that though, but they have had to sit back and watch as Real Madrid have become the first side to win three successive trophies in the Champions League. That perhaps shows just how dominant Spanish sides are when going up against their continental counterparts.
However, it must also be said that as a competitive league and you cannot really look all that much further than the two sides that make up the world renowned ‘El Clasico’. Those two fixtures have a huge bearing on who will earn the right to call themselves champions of Spain.
At the same time, though, there is one team that is always looking to upset the apple cart and that is Real’s crosstown rivals Atletico. The team that won the Europa League last season are once again under the stewardship of Diego Simeone.
The former Argentina midfielder has a habit of putting people’s nose out of joint, not only because of the way his Atletico side play but also because of his fiery Latin temper, which is displayed on the touchlines and, more often than not, the stands after an early ejection.
Atletico will be buoyed not only by the fact that they managed to keep hold of French forward Antoine Griezmann, but also because they have managed to add his international teammate Thomas Lemar, who joins from Monaco.
The team in the red and white half of Madrid will also be boosted by the fact that they picked up the first European silverware of the season when they got the better of their crosstown rivals Real in the European Super Cup.
Critics will point to it and say that it is nothing more than a glorified friendly. However, for Atletico, it is the ideal start to the campaign as they look to not only get the better of a Real Madrid side in a state of flux but also push defending champions Barcelona all the way in the race for the title.