The La Liga football season gets under way again on the 24th August this year in Spain and with plenty of activity in the transfer market in both directions, it will be interesting to see how the sides line up for their return to domestic football in just under a month’s time. Below La Liga Blog makes five bold predictions plus their explanations as to why for this year’s highly-anticipated La Liga campaign.
Ronaldo to yet again out-score Messi
Despite all eyes being on Argentine Lionel Messi last year it was his Portugese rival Cristiano Ronaldo who won the goal-scoring plaudits by netting a record-breaking forty goals in the domestic season of 2011. Messi’s lacklustre performance in this year’s Copa America once again highlighted how much he relies on the services of his team mates to score goals. Whilst Ronaldo is technically less gifted, he seems to have a better knack of creating his own chances which is why yet again Ronaldo will score more than Messi this season.
Malaga to qualify for European football
Van Nistlerooy, Demichelis, Baptista, Cazorla and Joaquin are just some of the names that have been added to Malaga‘s star-studded squad this season and with an experienced manager in Peligrini to boot, Los Boquerones have a great chance of qualifying for European football. Whether they have to settle for Europa League or go the whole way and grab a place in the Champions League is a different question but one things for sure, Malaga will be mixing it up with the big boys in the upper-echelons of the La Liga table this year.
The Title Race to go right down to the wire
Whilst Barcelona possess very much a squad in it’s prime, Jose Mourinho has set his stall out to build a Real Madrid side for the future with such notable youngsters as Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil expected to accomplish big things over the next few years. His youthful Real Madrid side will come back a year stronger and wiser after their Champions League and La Liga setbacks and will no doubt push Barcelona all the way in pursuit for the La Liga championship this season.
Atletico Madrid to finish in the bottom half of the La Liga table
With Sergio Aguero signing the dotted line at Manchester City, Atletico Madrid will surely now be lacking severely in the goal department with Diego Forlan now acting as the club’s only experienced striker. On the back of a disappointing 7th place finish in the league last season and with no real formiddable signings of which to boast, things could go from bad to worse for the red side of Madrid this year.
Fernando Llorente to finish La Liga top scorer outside Ronaldo and Messi
This Basque goal machine has really come into his own ever since he broke into the Spanish national team back in 2008 and after netting 18 league goals in the 2010/2011 season, La Liga Blog expects the 26 year old to have his best year yet for club side Athletic Bilbao this season. Whilst surpassing the goal tallies of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi is an impossible feat, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Llorente sitting behind in a close 3rd in the top goalscorer standings come the end of the season.