With La Liga making its return in just a few days, this articles will take a look at all 20 teams, from the title challengers to the new boys and everyone in between.
Last year's runners-up narrowly missed out on the title last year, but what are their chances of going one better this time?
Former boss Tata Martino intimated that at Barcelona, it’s not just about winning but how you win. Despite coming 45 minutes away from the league title, and only just losing the Copa Del Rey final, Martino knew his time was up at Barcelona.
Because despite the fact the Barcelona more-or-less competed well on all fronts, many believed they underachieved. Martino himself claimed a league title would be enough to save his job. In truth, Barcelona looked a lot less and less like themselves. They hope things will be different under Luis Enrique.
In: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Ivan Rakitic, Claudio Bravo, Luis Suarez, Jeremy Mathieu, Thomas Vermaelen, Alen Halilovic
Out: Victor Valdes, Carles Puyol, Jose Manuel Pinto, Cesc Fabregas, Denis Suarez (loan), Jonathan dos Santos, Isaac Cuenca, Alexis Sanchez, Oier Olazabal, Kerrison, Cristian Tello (loan), Bojan Krkic, Ibrahim Affelay (loan), Gerard Deulofeu (loan)
14 players have left the club, including club legends such as Puyol and Victor Valdes. Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez are quality footballers who also left the Camp Nou as part of a major overhaul.
This accelerated the need to bring in new blood, and Luis Enrique has made some quality additions. Suarez is one of Europe’s top marksmen, and has a price tag to prove it. However Lucho also made some shrewd signings, snapping Sevilla’s impressive midfielder Ivan Rakitic for a mere £15 million.
The 41-year-old manager has also been clever with his goalkeeping additions, bringing in the young and promising ter Stegen, and Claudio Bravo, an experienced La Liga keeper from Real Sociedad.
Key player: Lionel Messi
Missed key parts of last season but still managed 28 league goals and 41 overall. His influence in the Barcelona team is abundantly clear, and regardless of the presence of Suarez and Neymar, his performances would decide how well Barcelona do this season.
Ones to watch: Rafinha Alcantara, Munir El Haddadi
The young Spaniard, brother of Bayern’s Thiago played extensively under Luis Enrique whilst on loan to Celta de Vigo last season. Now back at Barcelona with Lucho, the 21-year-old is likely to play a big part in Barcelona’s season and flourish much like he did in Vigo.
El Haddiadi has been held in high regard by those behind the scenes at La Masia. With four goals in his last two matches, the 18-year-old would certainly have caught the eye of Luis Enrique. The manager may be inclined to give the forward more playing time in the absence of Luis Suarez.
Recreativo Huelva 0 – 1 Barcelona
Nice 1 – 1 Barcelona
Napoli 1 – 0 Barcelona
HJK Helsinki 0 – 6 Barcelona
Barcelona 6 – 0 Leon
After a slow start, Barcelona slipped seamlessly in to their rhythm. Once the majority their World Cup stars returned, they started to hit top gear, with hefty wins over HJK Helsinki and Leon.
Suarez also made his debut, but younger players such as El Haddadi and Sandro Ramirez have impressed throughout.
League position: 2nd
Barcelona are always likely to challenge, and will most likely do so again this season. However with such an overhaul, it is unknown how whether they will improve under Luis Enrique. The addition of Suarez does not necessarily imply an improvement. Neymar was purchased last year to try and make the same impact expected of Suarez, but failed to live up to his price tag.
On the other hand, Lucho’s revolution could pay dividends and they could romp to the title, but will need to overcome a strong Real Madrid side in order to do so.
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