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Spanish Primera Division 2016/2017 season preview

Second straight title for Barcelona

Barcelona sealed their 24th La Liga title in the final game as Luis Suarez took his tally for the season to 59 goals with a hat-trick in a 3-0 win at Granada to hold off Real Madrid's late-season surge. Real registered their 12th consecutive La Liga win, 2-0 at Deportivo la Coruna thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's double, but finished a point behind their bitter rivals. However, victory secured second place ahead of Champions League final opponents Atletico Madrid, whilst Ronaldo moved past the 50 goal mark for the sixth consecutive season. Suarez's treble also sees him become the first player in seven years other than Ronaldo and Barca teammate Lionel Messi to win the Pichichi award for La Liga's top goalscorer with 40.

Basque side Alaves have been promoted to La Liga after a 10-year absence, Osasuna returned to La Liga after two years in the second division, while Leganes were promoted to the top flight of Spanish football for the first time in their history. The three promoted clubs replace Rayo Vallecano, Getafe and Levante.

teamtitles11/1212/1313/1414/1515/16
Real Madrid3212322
Barcelona2421211
Atletico M.1053133
Athletic B.81012475
Valencia6358412
Real Soc.21247129
Sevilla199557
Deportivo1-19-1615
Betis113720-10
Malaga-461198
Espanyol-1413141013
Villarreal-18-664
Granada-1715151716
Celta Vigo--17986
Osasuna-71618--
Eibar----1814
Gijon-19---17
Las Palmas-----11
Alaves------
Leganes------

The overall number of titles since 1929, for each club in Spanish Primera Division and their league standings in the last five seasons.

Jorge Sampaoli appointed Sevilla manager

Sevilla have appointed Jorge Sampaoli as their new manager after the Spanish side confirmed that the former Chile coach agreed a two-year deal with the Europa League champions to succeed Unai Emery. The 56-year-old, out of a job since stepping down as Chile coach in January, lost out to the Barcelona coach Luis Enrique for the 2015 Fifa World Coach of the Year award after making the three-man shortlist following his Copa America success. Emery, who steered Sevilla to the last three Europa League crowns, was under contract until June 2017 but negotiated a release from his contract and joined Paris Saint Germain. Sevilla finished seventh in La Liga last term but have qualified for this season's Champions League via their Europa League victory.

Fran Escriba takes reins at Villarreal

Villarreal have named Fran Escriba as their new head coach. The 51-year-old Spaniard replaces Marcelino, whose surprising departure was announced just days before the start of the new Liga campaign. Escriba guided Elche into the top flight after an absence of 25 years in 2013 before taking charge of Getafe last summer. He was sacked in April with the club deep in relegation trouble in La Liga. Escriba, who was an assistant coach at Getafe, Valencia, Benfica and Atletico Madrid, signed a one-year-deal at the Yellow Submarine. Marcelino joined Villarreal in 2013 and steered the team to a fourth-place finish in La Liga last campaign.

Quique Sanchez Flores named new Espanyol coach

Quique Sanchez Flores has been named as the new head coach of Espanyol. Flores has joined the La Liga club on a three-year contract, having left Watford at the end of last season. His coaching career includes spells as Getafe, Valencia, Benfica and Atletico Madrid, for whom he won the Europa League. The 51-year-old took Watford to the FA Cup semi-finals and a respectable finish in the Premier League but parted company with the English club. Flores replaces the Romanian Constantin Galca, who left Espanyol after only five months in charge.

This page is introduction to the 2016/2017 Spanish Primera Division season. Latest news, statistics, results and predictions you can find on our main Euro Football > Spain page.

Juande Ramos returns to Malaga

Juande Ramos has been appointed as manager of Malaga for a second spell. The 61-year-old, who left Malaga for the first time in 2004 and went on to manage clubs including Sevilla, Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid, has signed a three-year deal. The Spaniard's best spell was with Sevilla where he won the Europa League twice in consecutive seasons in 2006 and 2007, while his last team was the Ukrainian Dnipro two seasons ago. Ramos replaces Javi Gracia, who paid the termination clause of one million euros to sign for Russian side Rubin Kazan.

Granada appoint Paco Jemez as new coach

Former Rayo Vallecano boss Paco Jemez has become the first head coach hired by Granada's ambitious new Chinese owners. The 46-year-old has signed a three-year contract with the club, who were sold to Chinese firm Link International Sports for 37 million euros this summer. Link International Sports owner Jiang Lizhang bought a majority stake from the Pozzo family after the Italians decided to focus on their other clubs, Udinese of Serie A and Premier League side Watford. Jemez, who has previously coached Cartagena and Cordoba, replaces Jose Gonzalez, who guided Granada to a 16th-placed finish last season after taking over the reins from the sacked Jose Ramon Sandoval in February.

Mauricio Pellegrino named as Alaves manager

Former Liverpool defender Mauricio Pellegrino has been named head coach of newly-promoted Alaves. The Argentinian replaces Jose Bordalas, who led the club to the Segunda Division title last season. However, despite that success, the club has decided not to retain him as first team coach. So, Pellegrino returns to the club where he played during the 2005/06 campaign, leaving his role as head coach of Atletico Independiente in his home country after only a year in charge. It is the Argentine's second La Liga coaching job, having managed Valencia in 2012.

Garitano joins Deportivo as new coach

Gaizka Garitano has been appointed as coach of Deportivo La Coruna. The 40-year-old succeeds Victor, who was sacked after one season in charge. Garitano had three seasons as coach of Eibar from 2012 to 2015, leading them to back-to-back promotions and into the top flight for the first time in their history. He moved to Real Valladolid last summer but only lasted until October. Garitano has signed a one-year deal with Deportivo La Coruna.

#teampointsg.dif.win-draw-loss
1Barcelona918329-4-5 (38)
2Real Mad.907628-6-4 (38)
3Atletico M884528-4-6 (38)
4Villarreal64918-10-10 (38)
5A. Bilbao621318-8-12 (38)
6Celta60-817-9-12 (38)
7Sevilla52114-10-14 (38)
8Malaga48312-12-14 (38)
9Real Soc.48-313-9-16 (38)
10Betis45-1811-12-15 (38)
11L. Palmas44-812-8-18 (38)
12Valencia44-211-11-16 (38)
13Espanyol43-3412-7-19 (38)
14Eibar43-1211-10-17 (38)
15Deportivo42-168-18-12 (38)
16Granada39-2310-9-19 (38)
17Gijon39-2210-9-19 (38)
18Rayo38-219-11-18 (38)
19Getafe36-309-9-20 (38)
20Levante32-338-8-22 (38)

The Spanish La Liga standings for season 2015/2016.

Barca, Real title favourites

Barcelona won the league and cup double last season, but there is a sense that it is Real Madrid who are on the up and up. They won the Champions League and they had the stars of Euro 2016 in the shape of Pepe, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. President Florentino Perez fell back on that argument several times when journalists asked him why Real Madrid had not spent big yet this summer. The Spanish giants have been quiet in the transfer market, with the club re-signing striker Alvaro Morata from Juventus while selling Jese Rodriguez and Denis Cheryshev to Paris Saint-Germain and Villarreal. The Camp Nou, meanwhile, have welcomed some new faces, with the likes of Samuel Umtiti and Andre Gomes joining Barca, while veterans including Dani Alves and Adriano have departed. Spanish football is arguably the best league in the world right now with Champions League and Europa League both won by a Spanish club, Real Madrid and Sevilla, but the 2016/17 season will be very similar to last campaign, according to online bookmakers.

teamoddsteamodds
Barcelona1.73Espanyol751
Real Madrid2.5Betis751
Atletico Madrid11Deportivo La Coruna1001
Sevilla67Las Palmas1001
Valencia151Leganes1001
Villarreal151Alaves1001
Athletic Bilbao201Eibar1501
Celta Vigo201Gijon1501
Malaga501Granada1501
Real Sociedad501Osasuna1501

The preseason odds for the outright winner of the 2016/17 Spanish football league.

Spanish Cup finals in last five years

2016   Barcelona - Sevilla   2:0   (aet)
2015   Barcelona - Athletic Bilbao   3:1
2014   Real Madrid - Barcelona   2:1
2013   Atletico Madrid - Real Madrid   2:1
2012   Barcelona - Athletic Bilbao   3:0

key players
(transfer market value in m€)

Alaves

Goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco (1); Defense: Zouhair Feddal (1.5), Aleksandar Pantic (1.5), Victor Laguardia (1.5); Midfield: Daniel Torres (3), Victor Camarasa (3), Nenad Krsticic (2), Edgar Mendez (1.5), Ibai Gomez (1.5); Forward: Deyverson (3.5), Christian Santos (2).

Athletic Bilbao

Goalkeeper Iago Herrerin (2.5); Defense: Aymeric Laporte (25), Oscar de Marcos (8), Mikel Balenziaga (5), Xabier Etxeita (4); Midfield: Raul Garcia (12), Mikel San Jose (10), Markel Susaeta (10), Benat Etxebarria (6); Forward: Inaki Williams (20), Iker Muniain (14).

Atletico Madrid

Goalkeeper Jan Oblak (35); Defense: Diego Godin (40), Jose Gimenez (30), Filipe Luis (25), Stefan Savic (20); Midfield: Koke (60), Saul Niguez (35), Nico Gaitan (25), Yannick Carrasco (25); Forward: Antoine Griezmann (80), Kevin Gameiro (20).

Barcelona

Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen (15); Defense: Gerard Pique (40), Jordi Alba (35), Samuel Umtiti (25); Midfield: Sergio Busquets (60), Ivan Rakitic (50), Andres Iniesta (30), Andre Gomes (30); Forward: Lionel Messi (120), Neymar (100), Luis Suarez (90).

Celta Vigo

Goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez (3.5); Defense: Hugo Mallo (7.5), Gustavo Cabral (6), Jonny Castro (6), Sergi Gomez (5); Midfield: Daniel Wass (10), Pablo Hernandez (6), Pione Sisto (6), Fabian Orellana (6); Forward: Iago Aspas (10), John Guidetti (8).

Deportivo La Coruna

Goalkeeper German Lux (1); Defense: Sidnei (6), Raul Albentosa (3.5), Juanfran (3.5), Alejandro Arribas (3); Midfield: Pedro Mosquera (6), Faycal Fajr (4), Celso Borges (3.5), Carles Gil (3.5); Forward: Lucas (12), Florin Andone (2.5).

Eibar

Goalkeeper Asier Riesgo (1); Defense: Mauro dos Santos (4), Ander Capa (4), David Junca (3), Alejandro Galvez (2.5); Midfield: Dani Garcia (4), Pedro Leon (4), Gonzalo Escalante (3.5), Adrian Gonzalez (3); Forward: Sergi Enrich (4), Kike (1.5).

Espanyol

Goalkeeper Roberto (3); Defense: Alvaro Gonzalez (4), Javi Lopez (3), Martin Demichelis (2); Midfield: Pablo Piatti (6), Victor Sanchez (3.5), Jose Manuel Jurado (3.5), Hernan Perez (3.5), Papakouli Diop (3); Forward: Felipe Caicedo (5), Gerard Moreno (3.5).

Gijon

Goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar (1.5); Defense: Jorge Mere (5), Jean-Sylvain Babin (3.5), Alberto Lora (3), Isma Lopez (2.5); Midfield: Victor Rodriguez (3), Sergio Alvarez (2.5), Moi Gomez (2.5), Nacho Cases (2.2); Forward: Duje Cop (4), Carlos Castro (2).

Granada

Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa (3); Defense: David Lomban (3), Gabriel Silva (3), Tito (2.5), Dimitri Foulquier (2.5); Midfield: Fran Rico (3), Rene Krhin (2.5), Javi Marquez (2), Isaac Cuenca (2); Forward: Ezequiel Ponce (4.3), Jose Angulo (2).

Las Palmas

Goalkeeper Javi Varas (0.8); Defense: Mauricio Lemos (4), Pedro Bigas (3), Aythami Artiles (2), Dani Castellano (2); Midfield: Roque Mesa (7.5), Jonathan Viera (6), Vicente Gomez (2.5), Nabil El Zhar (1.5); Forward: Tana (3.5), Marko Livaja (3).

Leganes

Goalkeeper Jon Ander Serantes (1.5); Defense: Pablo Insua (2), Carl Medjani (1.8), Adrian Marin (1), Martin Mantovani (0.8); Midfield: Ruben Perez (2.5), Gabriel (2), Alexander Szymanowski (2), Unai Lopez (1.5), Omar (1.5); Forward: Miguel Angel Guerrero (1.2).

Malaga

Goalkeeper Carlos Kameni (5); Defense: Diego Llorente (5), Roberto Rosales (5), Federico Ricca (2.5); Midfield: Ignacio Camacho (10), Recio (5), Keko (4), Jony (3.5), Juanpi Anor (3); Forward: Sandro Ramirez (5), Michael Santos (4).

Osasuna

Goalkeeper Nauzet Perez (1); Defense: David Garcia (1.5), Juan Rafael Fuentes (1.5), Unai Garcia (1), Miguel Flano (0.8); Midfield: Goran Causic (2), Roberto Torres (2), Oier (1.5), Fran Merida (1); Forward: Oriol Riera (1.5), Urko Vera (0.7).

Real Betis

Goalkeeper Antonio Adan (6); Defense: Aissa Mandi (4.5), Bruno Gonzalez (3), German Pezzella (3); Midfield: Dani Ceballos (6), Petros (5), Charly Musonda Jr, (5), Felipe Gutierrez (4), Matias Nahuel (4); Forward: Antonio Sanabria (7.5), Roman Zozulya (3).

Real Madrid

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas (20); Defense: Sergio Ramos (40), Raphael Varane (30), Marcelo (30), Daniel Carvajal (25); Midfield: Gareth Bale (90), Toni Kroos (55), Luka Modric (50); Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo (110), Karim Benzema (60), Alvaro Morata (40).

Real Sociedad San Sebastia

Goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli (8); Defense: Inigo Martinez (15), Aritz Elustondo (5), Yuri Berchiche (3); Midfield: Asier Illarramendi (15), Carlos Vela (15), Mikel Oyarzabal (8), Ruben Pardo (7.5), Xabi Prieto (4); Forward: Juanmi (5), Imanol Agirretxe (4).

Sevilla

Goalkeeper Sergio Rico (15); Defense: Timothee Kolodziejczak (7), Adil Rami (7), Benoit Tremoulinas (7); Midfield: Evgen Konoplyanka (25), Steven N'Zonzi (20), Vitolo (15), Joaquin Correa (10); Forward: Franco Vazquez (15), Luciano Vietto (14), Wissam Ben Yedder (9).

Valencia

Goalkeeper Diego Alves (4); Defense: Shkodran Mustafi (20), Jose Luis Gaya (18), Joao Cancelo (15), Aymen Abdennour (10); Midfield: Dani Parejo (18), Nani (15), Enzo Perez (12), Rodrigo (9); Forward: Paco Alcacer (25), Santi Mina (7).

Villarreal

Goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo (4); Defense: Mateo Musacchio (15), Mario Gaspar (12), Victor Ruiz (8); Midfield: Roberto Soriano (14), Nicola Sansone (12), Alfred N'Diaye (8), Bruno Soriano (8), Manu Trigueros (7); Forward: Cedric Bakambu (20), Roberto Soldado (16).

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