As the sun sets on another thrilling summer of transfers and preseason matches, football aficionados around the globe turn their attention to the heart of Spain.
The age-old question emerges once more: Who will claim the coveted La Liga title this season?
With giants like Real Madrid and Barcelona ever hungry for dominance and the rise of formidable contenders such as Atlético Madrid and Girona, this year’s campaign promises to be one of the most unpredictable and enthralling yet.
So let’s dissect the strengths, strategies, and storylines that will shape Spanish football in the coming months.
La Liga, officially known as La Liga Santander for sponsorship reasons, is the top professional football division of the Spanish football league system.
Established in 1929, it has since become one of the most popular and competitive football leagues in the world.
Historically, the league was dominated by Real Madrid and Barcelona, the two behemoths of Spanish football.
These two clubs have not only set records within Spain but have also made their mark on the international stage, contributing immensely to Spain’s reputation as a football powerhouse.
Real Madrid, with its rich history and numerous star-studded line-ups over the years, is the most successful club in La Liga’s history.
The Merengues have secured the title a staggering 35 times, a testament to their consistency and dominance over the years.
Barcelona isn’t far behind, with the Catalonian club bagging the title 27 times, especially during the era of Lionel Messi.
Other clubs, most notably Atlético Madrid, have also tasted success, breaking the duopoly on occasion and adding another layer of intrigue to the league.
So how is the 2023-24 shaping up so far?
At the time of writing, Real Madrid are sitting comfortably at the top of the La Liga table.
With eight wins from nine games, the best thing that could have happened to the club was signing Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund in the Summer transfer window.
Sure, he cost over €100 million but so far that investment is reaping dividends. From just eight appearances he has found the back of the net eight times, assisting in two more goals.
Not only is looking likely to get the Golden Boot for his new club, but he could also be a serious contender for the Balon D’Or.
Real’s only blip so far this season was being beaten 3-1 by rivals Atletico Madrid on September 24th 2023.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti is also finding form and has formulated his team selection for the new season, aiming to regain the La Liga title.
Even with the departure of key players like Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, and Eden Hazard, the club doesn’t appeared to have suffered too much.
Their biggest issue will be losing first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to injury in August. Suffering from a Ruptured cruciate ligament, he isn’t expected back until March 2024.
So can they win La Liga in 2023-24? At the moment things look promising with a strong start to the season and significant new signings.
But there’s a long season ahead and anything can happen.
FC Barcelona bolstered their squad with several new signings this season. The include Ilkay Gundogan from Manchester City, defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu and Inigo Martinez.
Under the management of Xavi, the team aims to defend their La Liga title from last season.
Xavi’s ability to adapt and make strategic signings to fill the void left by departing players, including the likes of Ousmane Dembélé and Antoine Griezmann will be crucial.
In the early stages of the La Liga season, they have had a mixed bags of performances. A solid 5-0 win against real Betis was muted when they were held to draws against Mallorca and Granada.
Barcelona is facing stiff competition from other La Liga teams. Fixtures against rivals like Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will be of huge importance if they want to hold on to their title.
So if you fancy them for La Liga this season don’t forget to get your bets on before it becomes too close to call.
The further into the season we get, the shorter the odds will go.
Los Rojiblancos continue to throw their weight around at the top of the La Liga table this season.
With a game in hand over Barcelona, a win in that fixture would see them hop over their rivals into third place.
One of the notable signings for Atlético de Madrid for the 2023-24 season is right-back César Azpilicueta, who is likely to bolster their defence.
That, and manager Diego Simeone, is said to be adopting a ‘back to basics’ approach for this season.
And with six wins from eight matches at the start of the season, it seems to be working.
Realistically, their chances of winning La Liga, ahead of both Real Madrid and Barcelona, are not great.
They’ll still give it a good go and if they don’t win it, they should still be there or thereabouts.
Dark Horses Girona
In what has come as quite a surprise to many, Girona currently occupy the second spot on the La Liga table.
With wins over both Granada and Mallorca, both of which held Barca to a draw, they have started racking up the points early in the season.
Despite how well they are doing, they are still as much as 100/1 to win La Liga this season. But maybe they’ll surprise us all…watch this space!
La Liga is probably the most difficult to judge out of all the top European leagues. Real Madrid appear to have come out on top in the transfer market and Atletico Madrid are still causing problems at the top of the table.
Surprise clubs like Girona and Athletic Club are still in with a shout and Barcelona are desperate to hold on to their hard won title from last season.
As for predictions, right now it looks like it is Real Madrid’s league to lose.