Barcelona won the 2017/18 Liga title with 93 points from 38 games, 17 more than third-placed Real Madrid who were defending champions. Barca, however, have lost Andres Iniesta this summer and have a bloated squad full of underperforming players who need moving on.
Atletico Madrid finished in the top-two of La Liga for the first time in four years, although they were still 14 points adrift. They’ll have Diego Simeone in charge and Antoine Griezmann leading the attack next season, so they should put pressure on the big two for much of the campaign.
Real have a squad that isn’t likely to change much next season and will be managed by a head coach who had a near-flawless record with the Spain national team, so things bode well for their future. A fresh approach should see Los Blancos put in a worthy title challenge. Online betting sites have Real Madrid at 5/4 to win the crown this season.
Barcelona have a lot of deadwood
Barca have lost Iniesta and don’t have an obvious replacement in the ranks. The Catalan giants could sell more players than they sign this summer too, as the squad isn’t too strong outside of the starting eleven. Without Lionel Messi and Luiz Suarez, Barca don’t have anybody close to fill their shoes. Without Sergio Busquets, the midfield will be lacking.
Ousmane Dembélé is still finding his feet at the Camp Nou, Yerry Mina could be sold this summer, Thomas Vermaelen has been inconsistent and
Nélson Semedo lost his place to Sergi Roberto. The likes of Lucas Digne, Denis Suárez, André Gomes, Paco Alcácer and Aleix Vidal spent the season on the periphery and don’t improve the squad.
They won the title last season but have many players at the World Cup who may need rotating early on in the new campaign. Barca’s secondary options, however, weaken the side considerably.
Real Madrid squad can reach potential with Lopetegui
Real Madrid won their third consecutive Champions League trophy in May, cementing their place as Europe’s best club, and could be rejuvenated under a new manager. Julen Lopetegui has replaced Zinedine Zidane as head coach and was boasting an unbeaten record with Spain (20 games, 14 wins, six draws) before his departure on the eve of the World Cup.
With a new coach offering new ideas, a squad boasting a spine of Cristiano Ronaldo, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos could be successful next season.
Atletico Madrid always have a chance with Costa and Griezmann
Atletico Madrid have won just one Liga title since 1996, but they have the firepower to threaten an upset next season. The Rojiblancos will start the campaign with Diego Costa and Antonio Griezmann leading the line, a brilliant combination of power and pace that should unlock most defences in the division.
The goalposts are slightly different at the Wanda Metropolitano, as Atleti aren’t directly challenging for the title like Barcelona and Real, but they’ll be there or thereabouts come May 2019. Simeone’s men can pull off results against the big sides to threaten a subverting of expectations.