La Liga is back, and with it comes a lot of drama. Hopefully, also a lot of great soccer, because the drama is already off the charts and it doesn’t look like the start of the season is going to change that in any way. Plus, there was already the shared drama of a World Cup in November that will interrupt all leagues to contend with.
As always, the drama in La Liga involves one of the top three teams, with Barcelona in a tricky position that might preclude them from truly competing for the league title, but that leaves them very much at the front of the race for the most headlines. So, let us examine all the storylines to keep an eye on as La Liga kicks off this weekend.
Who Will Actually be Able to Play At Barcelona?
It looks like none of the new signings, which include Robert Lewandowski, Andreas Christensen, and Jules Koundé. The team debuts Saturday night against Rayo Vallecano, and so far Barcelona cannot register all their signings. This comes after La Liga reviewed documentation for the new signings, contract renewals and the so-called “financial levers,” as president Joan Laporta has dubbed them, and informed the club it still wasn’t enough.
Barcelona still has time – and apparently a plan to get to where La Liga needs them to be, but the drama surrounding their financial issues has been the number one thing making headlines for the club in the past year or so. Can Barcelona go back to being a team known for great play instead of money troubles?
Can Real Madrid Capture Lightning in a Bottle... Again?
It’s not just hard to do what Real Madrid did last season, it’s almost impossible. Now, the team has to find a way to repeat it without any big signings, or at least do enough so that this season doesn’t feel like a complete failure. But not only do they have to do that, but they’ve also completely lost the element of surprise that helped them win the Champions League last year – when they beat favorite after favorite on the way to the title.
Plus, on the domestic side, they have to contend with a stronger Barcelona – if they can get those players registered – and a determined Atlético de Madrid, not to mention teams like Sevilla and Villareal, which look ready to at least make some noise.
Will a Team Not From Madrid or Barcelona Make a Splash?
But the real question from this year’s La Liga is pretty much the same question we ask every year: can any team not from Madrid or Barcelona actually make a splash? Villareal arguably did last year, in the Champions League, and they are not the only ones with a young team that looks ready to push the big three. But when push comes to shove in the Spanish League of the last few years, Real Madrid, Barcelona or Atlético de Madrid win.
Hopefully, that will not be the case this year. As fun as it is to see teams that win everything, it would be even better to see a really competitive tournament involving more than the usual suspects, once and for all.