The Spanish Primera Division title race is a race in three between Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid according to bookmakers but one thinks that the latter is opposable following a summer in which they have lost two icons.
Zinedine Zidane pulled the pin on his time as Real Madrid manager just a few days after he became the first coach to win three UEFA Champions League finals in a row. Maybe Zidane knew what was coming in the shape of Cristiano Ronaldo’s mega-money move to Juventus, particularly as CR7 had hinted at departing the Meringues when talking following their 3-1 European triumph over Liverpool in Kiev.
Zidane’s successor, Julen Lopetegui, and the Real Madrid board is chasing Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard but, if the Spanish media is correct, they do not have their sights set on an out-and-out goalscorer, which is what Ronaldo has been for the Meringues in recent seasons. Ronaldo has played more like a traditional striker than a playmaker in the last few years and one fears that Real Madrid is not going after the necessary player(s) to fill the void that C7’s departure, albeit for a large amount of money, has created.
Real Madrid makes the Spanish Primera Division championship market because, well, bookmakers are too scared to go up with big odds about the Meringues. That presents a chance for punters to dutch Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at a value price, with Barca running away with last season’s title and Atleti capable of closing the gap following an excellent couple of months of player-trading activity.
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Barcelona merits favouritism but it does remain to be seen how Barca fares without Andres Iniesta for the first time since the 2002-2003 campaign in which he made his debut for their senior side. That Barcelona finished 14 points clear of the rest on last term’s Spanish Primera Division ladder, losing only one of its 38 league games and that was a 4-5 thriller at Levante in the penultimate round, means that Barca will have a fall a long way not to feature in the title race so they have to be in one’s punting portfolio.
But so does Atletico Madrid because Diego Simeone has been one of Europe’s star recruiters during the close season, acquiring the services of many talented young players and securing Antoine Griezmann’s signature on another Atleti deal. Atletico Madrid were the Spanish Primera Division’s runner-up last term, it is growing increasingly comfortable in its Wanda Metropolitano stadium and Simeone, courted by even bigger clubs in foreign lands, has not decided to stay with Atleti simply to make up the numbers. Atletico Madrid is a live Spanish Primera Division contender and one thinks that, at the very least, punters should save on Atleti if they elect to have a futures bet on the competition. Dutching the pair is a price of -244 with 888Sport.
At the opposite end of the Spanish Primera Division ladder one expects to find, among others, Valladolid, which is back in Spain’s top flight after four years in the wilderness. Jaime Mata and Raul de Tomas have quit Valladolid since the White and Violets gained promotion to the Spanish Primera Division and they scored approximately three-quarters of their former team’s goals in Spain’s second tier. +188 with Betway about Valladolid returning from whence it came is the best Spanish Primera Division relegation value bet.
The Spanish Primera Division leading marksman award, also known as the Pichichi Trophy, looks Barcelona star Lionel Messi’s to lose now that Ronaldo has joined Juventus. Messi has been Barcelona’s top Spanish Primera Division goal scorer in eight of the last nine seasons, including last term when he beat Luis Suarez by nine in the league and 14 across all tournaments. If you back Messi to take out the Pichichi Trophy for the sixth time at odds of -200 with Bet365 then the biggest threat to you not collecting is the Barcelona man getting injured.
Dutch Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to win La Liga
Back Valladolid to be relegated from La Liga
Back Lionel Messi to be La Liga top goalscorer