La Liga fixtures released: Which of Real Madrid and Barcelona will be happier and when is El Clasico?


The new La Liga season feels a long way away, but on Tuesday, the fixture list for the 2024-25 campaign was released.

It feels especially early given we only know 19 of the 20 clubs who will be playing. The final team will be determined on Sunday when Real Oviedo travel to Espanyol for the second leg of the Segunda Division play-off final with a 1-0 lead from the first leg.

But we do know that Real Madrid will be looking to defend their crown with a newly signed Kylian Mbappe, Barcelona will be hoping to reclaim it under new coach Hansi Flick, and Real Valladolid and Leganes will be back in La Liga after their promotion.

So, when will El Clasico be played, which of Barca and Madrid has the most difficult start, and how will they be feeling about the campaign?

What are the key dates for Real Madrid and Barcelona?

La Liga will kick off on the weekend of August 18. Madrid begin their title defence with a visit to Real Mallorca, while Barcelona face a difficult trip to Valencia for their opening match.

The first Clasico of the season will take place on the weekend of October 27 when Madrid host Barca at the new-look Santiago Bernabeu. Barca will ‘welcome’ their arch-rivals four matchdays before the end of the campaign in a potentially La Liga-deciding encounter. Blaugrana fans will hope to be back at the Camp Nou by then — Barca are planning to return by the end of the year — although the €1.5billion (£1.3bn; $1.6bn) project has suffered its fair share of setbacks.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side make the short trip across town for the Madrid derby against Atletico on the weekend of September 29 — where they suffered their only league defeat of last season. They then host Atletico on the weekend of February 9. Barca host Atletico on December 22 and their trip to the Metropolitano is pencilled in for March 16.

Both Clasico rivals face a tough end to the season on the weekend of May 25. Barca are away to Athletic Bilbao, while Madrid come up against their Basque rivals Real Sociedad at the Bernabeu.

Real Madrid and Barcelona’s first six games

Real MadridDateBarcelona

Real Mallorca (a)

August 18

Valencia (a)

Real Valladolid (h)

August 25

Athletic Bilbao (h)

Las Palmas (a)

August 28

Rayo Vallecano (a)

Real Betis (h)

September 1

Real Valladolid (h)

Real Sociedad (a)

September 15

Girona (a)

Espanyol/Real Oviedo (h)

September 22

Villarreal (a)

Who has the best start and the best finish to the season out of Madrid and Barca?

Barcelona fans will be dreading their start, while Madridistas will be pretty happy with theirs.

After facing Valencia on the opening day, Barca host last season’s Copa del Rey winners Athletic and then visit Rayo Vallecano — where they have not won in La Liga since 2018. A home match against newly promoted Valladolid on September 1 should pose fewer problems, but their next two games are away trips to last season’s breakout side Girona and Villarreal.

Madrid host Valladolid and visit last term’s 16th-placed side Las Palmas after their opening game against Mallorca (who finished 15th). A home match against Betis on September 1 and a trip to Real Sociedad on September 15 after the international break will be trickier, but they close out their opening six games by welcoming new boys Oviedo or Espanyol.

Pedri and Vinicius Junior in the last La Liga Clasico (Burak Akbulut/Anadolu via Getty Images)

It is unusual to see the second league Clasico taking place on the 35th matchday — the latest since a 2-2 draw on the 36th matchday of the 2017-18 season, when a Barca side featuring Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta had already been crowned champions in the previous match.

Barca’s schedule after the late Clasico — an away trip to Oviedo or Espanyol, hosting Villarreal and visiting Athletic on the final day — looks marginally harder than Madrid’s (a home match against Mallorca, an away trip to Sevilla and a final-day encounter against Real Sociedad). But the title may well have been sewn up before then.

Real Madrid and Barcelona’s last six games

Real Madrid






Getafe (a)

April 23

Real Mallorca (h)

Celta Vigo (h)

May 4

Real Valladolid (a)

Barcelona (a)

May 11

Real Madrid (h)

Real Mallorca (h)

May 14

Espanyol/Real Oviedo (a)

Sevilla (a)

May 18

Villarreal (h)

Real Sociedad (h)

May 25

Athletic Bilbao (a)

How will Madrid feel about their trip to Barcelona?

Barca appear to be way off the pace set by Madrid and president Florentino Perez is keen to strike a decisive blow: Los Blancos have never won two La Liga titles in a row during his two spells as president.

To do that, Madrid know they will have to be on their game for the two Clasicos. The first of those at the Bernabeu should not pose a problem for either team in terms of fatigue, even if they will be competing in the new-look ‘Swiss model’ of the Champions League at the same time.

But Madrid’s away trip to Barca is unusually late. That could be a disadvantage if it coincides with a European tie, although Madrid are building a squad intending to challenge on various fronts — that includes the Intercontinental Cup, Supercopa de Espana, FIFA Club World Cup and Copa del Rey as well as the Champions League and La Liga.

How will Barca feel about their trip to Madrid?

It is hard to imagine a more difficult start for Flick in La Liga, but the visit to the Bernabeu does come after some winnable matches.

Barca fans will hope trips to Osasuna and Deportivo Alaves and a home match against Sevilla provide them with confidence before they travel to Madrid at the end of October. But facing Mbappe and co will be an entirely different prospect.

Flick was appointed as Xavi’s successor (Federico Gambarini/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Xavi’s team showed their mental fragility at various points last season. They will want to clear up those doubts with a strong showing against Madrid, which will be a litmus test for their aspirations this season.

What tricky away trip — that is not El Clasico — will Madrid fear?

Madrid will be wary of a few away trips towards the end of the season. Games against Villarreal (March 16), Alaves (April 13) and Getafe (April 23) before El Clasico could be especially tricky, as could their visit to Sevilla after that last game against Barca.

But the visit to Villarreal could pose the most problems. Madrid have not beaten them away from home since 2017 and were made to suffer in the same game in May. Madrid went 4-1 up but were pegged back to 4-4 thanks to four goals from Alexander Sorloth. It did not matter as Ancelotti’s team were already league champions: they do not enjoy visits to the Estadio de la Ceramica.

What tricky away trip — that is not El Clasico — will Barca fear?

The visit to Montilivi, Girona’s stadium, on September 15.

Girona were Barca’s bogey team last season, beating the Blaugrana home and away in La Liga and putting eight goals past them. Once considered minnows in Catalonia, the side owned by City Football Group embarrassed Xavi’s Barca while playing exactly the style the former midfielder had wanted to implement with his team.

Girona qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history and the game takes place before the start of the league phase. That means Michel’s side will be fresh and ready to cause another upset against their neighbours.

How important will this La Liga season be for Barca?

This La Liga season will provide several tests for Barca.

The first is whether their squad is as competitive as the board believes; everything suggests it will be very similar to last season. That will also answer whether it was Xavi’s fault he didn’t get the most out of this squad, as some on the board claimed when he was dismissed.

Mbappe’s signing has strengthened Madrid (Andrzej Iwanczuk/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

It will test where the club stands amid an institutional and sporting crisis. Doubts about the board are starting to emerge and this season will extinguish those flames or fuel them further.

Mbappe’s signing for Madrid rubbed salt in the wounds of a Barca team who were convincingly beaten to the title last season. They need to regain a playing identity — with or without their famous ‘Barca DNA’ — and show they can compete with the big clubs. Flick has a lot of work ahead of him.

How can I watch on TV?

La Liga is broadcast on ESPN+ in the United States and will be shown on Premier Sports for the 2024-25 season in the UK.

(Top photo: Getty Images)

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