Spain did not fare too well in the Euro 2016, and the fans will be eagerly awaiting the start of the La Liga, which kicks off on August 19. Last season was won by Barcelona, and the defending champions play Real Betis in their first match on August 20 while rivals Real Madrid will have to play their first game against Real Sociedad the day after. With Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid both closing in fast on Barcelona’s heels, who will win the La Liga this season?
Real Madrid have held a strong dominion over Spanish football with a record 32 titles, despite winning the La Liga only thrice in the last 10 seasons. However, after Mourinho’s appointment and with Carlo Ancelloti followed by that, Real saw winning ways again. They have won two of the last three Champions Leagues, one under Carlo Ancelotti. To make things even more legendary at the club, they are now being managed by Zinedine Zidane, and that has been a talking point across the entire footballing community.
Zidane has won 21 out of his 27 matches since he took hold of the reigns, and picked up the Champions League in June. Undoubtedly, all eyes will be on him during this season as he starts on his first full season in charge.
Barcelona, on the other hand, will have a lot of pressure on them, and even more so because of them being the defending champions. A lot of that can be attributed to the strong dominating team built by Guardiola and, of course, the trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. Messi has been a default factor in Barcelona’s starting team for many years, and with the partnership between him, Suarez and Neymar strengthening further, this can only mean good news for the club.
After winning the La Liga thrice consistently, Guardiola lost to Mourinho before quitting and signing on for Bayern. Barca replaced Guardiola with Tito Villanova, who got them back to winning ways and also won the title that season. Unfortunately, he had to resign after a year due to ill-health and he passed away in the year 2014.
Subsequently, a lacklustre season followed for the Catalonia giants as Atletico Madrid won that season, providing a breath of fresh air. Luis Enrique is the manager now, and he has won two consecutive titles and looks like he’s on his way to win a third as things stand. After all, he does have a full strength squad at his disposal with boosted morale as Neymar has recently signed a contract extension.
Atletico Madrid can definitely not be overlooked though, as Diego Simeone’s team has a lot of fight in them, and the way with which Griezmann performed in the Euro, there is no way one can underestimate them. What they need to focus on the most right now, would be to ensure Griezmann stays in the club, because a lot of big clubs will be eyeing him after his spectacular Euro campaign. It will be a welcome break if Atletico manage to triumph over Barcelona and Real Madrid this season.