3 storylines for the 2020/21 La Liga Season

If there's one good thing to come out of 2020 and a certain global pandemic, it's that football's back after only a very short break! 

With the Champions League ending less than 20 days ago, fans will be treated to the return of one the world's premier competitions, with Spain's La Liga set to kick off this weekend. 

While the world had braced itself for a La Liga without Lionel Messi this season, the Argentinean's eventual decision to remain with Barcelona means the 6-time Ballon D'Or will continue to grace Spanish pitches regularly. 

So what can we expect from Spain this season? Here are a few things to look forward to ahead of the new season:

RELATED: So, Who Should Have Won the 2020 Ballon d'Or?

CAN ATLETICO MADRID GET THEIR HANDS ON ANOTHER TITLE?

The La Liga has always been known as a two-horse race, with Barcelona and Real Madrid collecting 17 of the available 20 domestic crowns this millennium, and sharing 60of 89 overall.

However, with Barcelona experiencing significant turmoil, even without the Messi distraction, it mightn't be a surprise to see the Catalan giants struggle somewhat this campaign under new coach Ronald Koeman, and amid so much upheaval at board level.  

Meanwhile, while Madrid did win the La Liga last season for a 34th time, something does seem lacking with 'Los Blancos'.  

Granted, their defence has been rock-solid, yet they've had an unhealthy reliance on Karim Benzema in attack. While the 33-year-old French striker netted over 20 goals last season, Madrid’s second highest goalscorer was their 34-year old captain, and central defender Sergio Ramos who chipped in with 11 goals. Unless someone else can step up to support Benzema, Real will certainly have their work cut out defending their hard-earned title. 

With both Barca and Madrid not being the same superpowers they once were, evidenced by neither advancing beyond the quarter-finals of this year's Champions League, we can perhaps expect to see the likes of Atletico Madrid step up and fill the potential vacuum.

Since 2012-13, Atletico Madrid have finished in the top-4 each and every season, and even went on to win the title in 2013-14. 

Apart from their loss to Red Bull Leipzig in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, Atletico had enjoyed an 18-game unbeaten run, while the 27 goals they conceded in the league was the stingiest return outside their bitter, cross-town rivals.  

It'll be exciting to see what Diego Simeone’s men can come up with this season and hoist the La Liga trophy for an 11th time. Taking that extra step could be contingent upon the maturation of their 20-year old Portuguese sensation, Joao Felix. The former Benfica star netted 6 goals in his debut season with the 'Mattress-Makers', producing 2.4 shots on goal per game 

According to Stats Insider's La Liga Futures Model, Atletico Madrid have a 12.7% chance of breaking the Barca-Real duopoly for just the second time since 2004.

DARK HORSES FOR A TOP-4 SPOT


While Atletico Madrid have become a regular in the top-four and continual UCL presence over the past decade, there has been a lot of volatility beneath them regarding the next best outfit in Spain. 

Since 2010, Valencia have qualified for the Champions League on 5 occasions, Villarreal have done so 3 times, while perennial Europa League darlings Seville have done so twice.

Villarreal and Real Sociedad impressed last season, finishing 5th and 6th respectively and bring in two massive names to help push their case for a Champions League berth. 

Former Arsenal and PSG manager Unai Emery will be patrolling the sidelines at Villarreal, while 4-time EPL champion and World Cup winner David Silva will join a Basque team that has played in Europe's biggest competition just twice over the last 37 years. 

SOME OF THE WORLD'S BEST YOUNGSTERS

Speaking of Real Sociedad, 'The Royals' are on the brink of cracking into La Liga's top-4 thanks to its army of talented youth led by 23-year old winger, Mikel Oyarzabal and 20-year giant Swedish forward Alexander Isak,with the pair combining for 17 goals last season.


22-year-old Dutch phenom, Frankie de Jong has become a rock in Barcelona’s midfield and has been compared to the likes of Andreas Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez. Barcelona's healthy youth stocks are further evidenced by both Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig.

Last week, and at just 17 years old, Fati became the youngest player in 25 years to represent Spain, while Puig has already racked up a combined 66 games at senior and reserve level for the famous club. 

Other youngsters to look out for are indeed Joao Felix at Atletico Madrid, while rivals Real Madrid will also relish the return of Norwegian sensation Martin Odegaard, who at just 21 years of age has already represented his nation 22 times and is talented enough to step straight into the Real Madrid midfield. While still on that midfield, keep an eye out for 20-year old Uruguayan Federico Valverde who's already played 49 games for Real, while being capped 20 times for his country. 

We can expect these youngsters, and many others, to light up the La Liga this season and usher in what will soon be a post-Messi landscape.

This upcoming season promises to be both fresh and pulsating, and one which fans should expect plenty of surprises from. 

The first match of the new season will take place at midnight on September 13 between Eibar and Celta Vigo

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Rajdeep Singh

Rajdeep is a freelance sports journalist and passionate sports enthusiast who loves watching tennis, cricket, and soccer. In his free time, he likes to binge-watch The Office on repeat and eat lots of food.

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