All change as season starts

A look ahead to the weekend's action in the Spanish Primera Division as the new season gets started.

Last Updated: 15/08/13 at 14:15 Post Comment

Gerardo Martino: The new Barcelona manager

Gerardo Martino: The new Barcelona manager

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The comings and goings of La Liga have dominated the Spanish sporting headlines over the summer - and look set to for another fortnight yet - but this weekend finally sees competitive action return to the agenda.

The world's biggest signing may still be to come - as Real Madrid continue to be linked with a £100million move for Tottenham star Gareth Bale - but the Primera Division already has a different look for a new season.

There have been managerial changes at 10 of the competition's clubs, including its two biggest sides.

Tito Vilanova stepped down at champions Barcelona due to ill health and was swiftly replaced by Gerardo Martino, an Argentinian former Paraguay national manager largely unheralded in Europe.

Madrid are also under new control with the vastly experienced Carlo Ancelotti promising to restore harmony at the Bernabeu after the fractious final months of Jose Mourinho's reign.

The new men get their first taste of the action on Sunday as Barca host Levante and Madrid take on Real Betis at home.

With last season having been completely dominated by the big two - Barcelona racking up an incredible tally of 100 points and Real Madrid, despite numerous reported problems, finishing second with 85 - both will want to hit the ground running.

Many eyes will be on Barcelona's main acquisition of the summer, Brazilian playmaker Neymar.

The highly-rated 21-year-old cost the Catalan club around £48million to sign from Santos and the prospect of seeing him line up alongside Lionel Messi is an enticing one.

Elsewhere it has been a summer of notable departures, headed up by Radamel Falcao's transfer from Atletico Madrid to Monaco.

The moves of Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas from Sevilla to Manchester City and Roberto Soldado's switch from Valencia to Tottenham also stand out among the outgoing deals.

Valencia, Real Sociedad, Celta Vigo, Levante, Malaga, Valladolid, Athletic Bilbao and Almeria are the other Primera Division clubs going into the campaign with new managers.

The season begins with three games on Saturday; Real Sociedad hosting Getafe in the first match, followed by Valladolid v Bilbao and Valencia v Malaga later in the day.

Sunday's other games see Osasuna take on Granada and Atletico Madrid - hoping the signing of David Villa from Barca can help offset Falcao's loss - travel to Sevilla.

Two of the promoted clubs face each other Monday with Villarreal beginning life back in the top flight after a year's absence away at Almeria.

The other promoted side, Elche, are at Rayo Vallecano and Celta Vigo host Espanyol.


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