Pre-season is over and if there is one thing we have learned in football, it is that talk is cheap, but players cost a fortune.
As Atletico Madrid found out with a summer spending spree of over £110 million.
However, it looks like money well spent with the first trophy of the season in the back pocket after Diego Simeone masterminded a European Super Cup triumph over bitter neighbours Real Madrid.
Heading into the new La Liga season, there could an unexpected opportunity for Atletico Madrid to repeat their feat of 2013/14 by winning the league title.
Real Madrid has already proven beatable and face their first season for nine-years without star man Cristiano Ronaldo and enter the new season with a new head coach in former Spain boss Julen Lopetegui.
Although defending league champions Barcelona looked relatively settled, by comparison, another year on Messi can only go to aid Atletico’s title cause.
However, as we mentioned at the top of this article, talk is cheap, now the action must take place and first up for Atleti is a rejuvenated Valencia.
After a couple of seasons occupying the lower half of the La Liga table, Marcelino García Toral stepped into the breach in May 2017 and dragged the club back to where it belongs and into the top four.
Valencia’s resurgence has been treated with respect by 888Sport who offer plenty of value in the first round of La Liga matches with little to choose between the pair in the outright betting.
However, Atletico will be confident of the three points at their fortress Wanda Metropolitano after having been breached at their new ground once in the league all last season (losing to Espanyol on the penultimate home match of the season).
There is more reason for Simone to be confident of getting off to the best possible start on Monday night, it is seven years since Valencia got the better of Atleti on the road although the Bats have claimed a few draws since.
However, Valencia will head to the capital brimming with confidence themselves and will certainly not just roll over.
Manager Marcelino was busy in the summer bringing in a raft of quality into the Valencia ranks in the belief that perhaps they may be the ones capable of challenging Barcelona for the title.
Central midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia has been brought in from Inter for a fee of £22.5 million and adds a certain toughness into the middle of the Bats park whilst Kevin Gameiro is set for a swift return to the Wanda after his £14.4 million switch from Atleti to Valencia.
The hope is Gameiro can repeat the kind of form he showed for Lorient and Sevilla which earned the center-forward his move to Atletico Madrid in the first place for Valencia.
We could not have asked for much more of an enticing opening fixture of the new La Liga season and after what feels like an eternity, we can safely say that Spanish football is back, and its coming back with a bang.