The Spanish Federation has announced the La Liga fixtures for the 2018/19 season, and as usual, it is headlined by the two El Classico's. For the first time in a decade, Barcelona will play a Cristiano Ronaldo-less Real Madrid, following the Portugese's transfer to Juventus.
Ronaldo ended his nine-year long association with the Spanish club, and moved to Seria A champions for a reported fee of 88 million pounds, which could rise up to 104 million pounds. He won an astonishing 16 trophies at the Spanish capital, scoring an incredible 450 goals during his time at the Spanish capital, whom he joined from Manchester United in 2009.
The two teams will first take on each other at Camp Nou on October 28, 2018. It will mark the Clasico debut for Julen Lopetegui, who was appointed as Real manager after Zinedine Zidane stepped down from his post after guiding the club to their third consecutive UEFA Champions League. The reverse fixture, which will be held at Santiago Bernebeau, is scheduled to be played on March 3, 2019.
Apart from this, the other major derby is Real vs Atletico Madrid. The two teams will meet at Santiago Bernebeau on September 30, before meeting again at Atletico's new stadium, Wanda Metropolitano on Feb 10, 2019.
Barcelona begin their title defense at home against Alaves. They will be looking to win their fourth La Liga title in five seaons. Their arch rivals Real Madrid, who finished third last season, will also be playing at home, as they take on Getafe. Atletico Madrid, runners-up in 2017/18 season, will begin their campaign at Mestalla as they take on Valencia.
This will be the first season since 2009 that Real Madrid will be without the services of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portugese, earlier this month, completed a transfer from the Spanish capital to Juventus for a reported fee of 88 million pounds, which could rise up to 104 million pounds.
Also, this season will be the 10th campaign in which Lionel Messi would be donning the No.10 jersey of Barcelona. He took over the shirt from Ronaldinho on July 24, 2008. And now, following the departure of Andres Iniesta from the club, he is the front-runner to assume the captaincy role at Barcelona.
It is also reported that Sergio Busquets will be appointed as the second skipper, with Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto as third and fourth captain respectively.