Ten things you should know about the new Liga season

Ten things you should know about the new Liga season

Dates for your diary, new faces, early suspensions and other things to note as a new league season gets ready for kick-off

New managers. Most clubs have stuck with the same coach that they had last term, and the only managerial changes are at Real Madrid, where Rafa Benítez is now in charge, at Getafe, who have taken on Fran Escribá, and at Eibar, where José Luis Mendilibar will now be on the bench. But all three of those bosses have previous experience of managing sides in the Liga BBVA.

Andalusian derby to start. On Friday 21 August, the competition gets going at La Rosaleda (8.30pm CET), when Malaga entertain local rivals Sevilla. The first weekend of play closes on Monday with Granada hosting Eibar at the Nuevo Los Cármenes (8.30pm CET). Barça of course begin their season with a trip to San Mamés to play the side they already faced in the Spanish Super Cup, Athletic Bilbao (6.30pm CET on Sunday). Real Madrid start their campaign two hours later away to Sporting. The final match of Barça’s season will also be on the road, at Granada on May 21 or 22.

Most experience. Albert Lopo will begin his 17th season in the Spanish First Division and as such he is the player with most campaigns in the top flight still active. He is followed by Fernando Navarro and David Navarro who will start their 15th seasons. They will be followed by Dani Alves, Duda, Gurpegi, Iniesta and Juanfran Torres, who will all start their 14th seasons. 

Weekends off: There will be five weekends with no Liga play this season, either due to international fixtures or because of the festive break. Those dates are September 5 and 6, October 10 and 11, November 14 and 15, December 26 and 27 and March 26 and 27.

Back from abroad. The summer transfer market has seen several players return to La Liga after spending time in other countries. The most prominent cases are those of Filipe Luis (who has joined Atlético Madrid from Chelsea); Roberto Soldado (from Tottenham to Villarreal); Adil Rami (from AC Milan to Sevilla); Andrés Fernández (from Oporto to Granada) and Van der Vaart (from SV Hamburg to Betis). Former Barça B player Tony Sanabria also returns to Spain after leaving AS Roma to sign for Granada.

Seville derby is back. After a season in which the Andalusian capital missed out on its biggest fixture, due to Betis playing in the second division, the derby returns for the 2015/16 season.The Benito Villamarín hosts the first edition on December 19-20 while the Sánchez Pizjuán hosts the rematch on April 30 or May 1.

More derbies. Other top derbies to look out for this season are the one in Madrid between Atlético and Real (week 7 at the Calderón and week 26 at the Bernabéu) and the Catalan derby between Espanyol and Barça (week 18 at Cornellà-El Prat and week 37 at the Camp Nou). The first Clásico between Barça and Real Madrid is on November 21-22 at the Santiago Bernabéu, and the return will be on April 9-19 at the Camp Nou.

Out for day one: A number of players will sit out the first game of the season because they are serving suspensions carried over from last season. The affected players are Mathieu (Barça), Sergio Álvarez (Celta), Medunjanin (Deportivo), Riesgo (Eibar), Hernán Pérez (Espanyol), Roberto Lago (Getafe), Lombán (Granada), Culio and Javi Varas (Las Palmas), Recio and Wellington (Malaga) and Feghouli, Gayà and Parejo (Valencia). Gerard Piqué and Kike Sola of Barça and Athletic Bilbao are also suspended following red card incidents in the Spanish Super Cup on Monday.

Trip to the islands. FC Barcelona are travelling to UD Las Palmas for the first time in 13 league seasons. The long flight south to the Canary Islands, just off the southern coast of Morocco, will be on the weekend of February 27 and 28.

Record points and record goals. Leo Messi still holds the record for the most goals in a Liga season. In 2011/12 he scored 50 goals in 37 matches.

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