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La Liga: When does it return? Top players? Thrilling title race?

The third major league to return to action in Europe is La Liga. We provide a rundown of the state of play, schedule, players and more…

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When is La Liga returning?

The Spanish La Liga, or La Liga Santander, will return on June 11th. A Thursday night standalone fixture kicks off the return of top flight football in Spain. Rivals Sevilla take on Real Betis at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium at 9pm GMT. Two games follow on Friday night, with Granada hosting Getafe at 6:30pm GMT and Valencia against Levante at 9pm GMT.

How are games being scheduled in the league?

There will be at least one La Liga game every day from June 11th until the end of the season. They have not set fixtures dates and times for the following matchdays yet beyond June 18th. La Liga has set July 19th as the final matchweek of the season. With 11 rounds of fixtures to complete, teams are likely to play at least twice a week on alternate days to complete the season.

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Are La Liga teams playing at their own stadiums?

Almost. 18 of the 20 sides will complete the season in their own stadium. Surprisingly, Real Madrid are one of two clubs set to complete their home games elsewhere. Los Blancos are completing renovation work on the iconic Santiago Bernabeu. A club of Real Madrid’s size means their world class training facilities includes a 6,000 capacity training stadium, Estadio Alfredo di Stefano. All six of Real Madrid’s home games will go ahead there.

The other team who will not be playing at their home ground is Levante. Unlike Real however, Levante will have to move their home games over 140km south from Valencia to the town of La Nucia. The Estadi Ciutat de València, home of Levante, is also receiving renovation work. They will play their remaining home games at the Camilo Cano Olympic Stadium.

Interestingly, Mallorca will still be able to play at Son Moix stadium on the Balearic Islands. Issues with flying teams in and out of the Islands has been a problem for the Portuguese Primeira Liga. However, RCD Mallorca, sat 18th in the table, will not have to move their home games to mainland Spain.

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What time will kick off be in La Liga?

Midweek games will kick-off at 6.30pm and 9pm GMT. Weekend kick-off times are 4pm, 6.30pm and 9pm GMT. Weather dependent, an earlier midweek kick off time is available for teams.

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What is the state of play in La Liga?

27 matchdays have passed so far this season before the enforced break. There is a superb reason to get excited about the remaining fixtures.

FC Barcelona are the current leaders on 58 points and are just two point ahead of Real Madrid in second place. Real Madrid lost 2-1 against Real Betis in the last matchweek before the break, a week after beating rivals Barca 2-0 at home. It was their third defeat in four games in all competitions, and Barca took advantage by defeating Real Sociedad with a late Lionel Messi penalty.

With Barca and Real already playing each other twice, the title race comes down to who can hold their own against other opposition. On the final matchday of the season, Barcelona host Leganes at the Camp Nou whilst Real Madrid welcome Valencia to their training facility.

Behind them, Sevilla sit in 3rd on 47 points. Atletico Madrid’s league high 12 draws this season sees them sat down in a disappointing 6th position on 45 points.

At the foot of the table, Espanyol have a miserable 20 points to their name. Leganes sit just above on 23 points and have Barca and Real to face as part of their last four games of the season. Three teams get relegated from La Liga. The Segunda Division is also resuming action on the same day as La Liga. Cadiz and Real Zaragoza are currently battling for top spot.

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What have been the talking points in La Liga this season?

  • Athletic Club Bilbao striker Inaki Williams suffers racial abuse from Espanyol supporters.
  • Barcelona teenager Ansu Fati shines in breakout season with four La Liga goals in 16 matches so far.
  • Quique Setién replaces Ernesto Valverde as Barcelona head coach in January.
  • Kieran Trippier becomes first Englishman to play for Atletico Madrid.
  • Real Betis forward Joaquin scores a hat-trick at 38 years and 140 days-old, the oldest player to score a La Liga hat-trick.
  • FC Barcelona sold their Camp Nou naming rights to give proceeds to charity.
  • Veteran Athletic Club Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz announces retirement from football in May.

Who are the top players in the La Liga this season?

  • Lionel Messi (Barcelona) A shock? We think not. The Argentine magician is still putting up ridiculous numbers, with 19 goals and 12 assists in La Liga this season.
  • Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) The Frenchman is reaping the rewards of not being in Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow these past two seasons. He has 14 league goals so far this season.
  • Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad) A familiar name to Newcastle fans. Just 23-years-old, the former Dortmund midfielder is shining with strong defensive performances for Sociedad.
  • Ante Budimir (Mallorca) The Croatian striker has scored some crucial goals for the La Liga strugglers. He has the joint-most goals away from home of any player this season with six.

Can I bet on La Liga matches behind-closed-doors?

Yes. At Mark Jarvis, we have over 75 different markets for each match in the Spanish top flight. For La Liga markets, click here.

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Sam is an experienced content writer with a history of working in the sports industry. Sam is a media and communication professional with a bachelor's degree focused in Sports Studies.

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