Coach Francisco Rodriguez 

Key arrivals Sebastian Dubarbier (Cordoba, Arg), Suso (Liverpool, Eng, on loan)

Key departures Charles (Celta Vigo)

Beat Las Palmas and Girona in the play-offs to return to La Liga, although coach Javi Gracia and the division’s top goalscorer Charles have both left. New boss Rodriguez, who at 34 is now the youngest coach in La Liga, was in charge of the B team last season.

Athletic Bilbao

Coach Ernesto Valverde

Key arrivals Benat Etxebarria (Real Betis), Xabier Etxeita (Elche), Kike Sola (Osasuna)

Key departures Fernando Amorebieta (Fulham, Eng), Fernando Llorente (Juventus, Ita)

Despite the departure of coach Marcelo Bielsa, the loss of Llorente and the demolition of San Mames, there is optimism at Athletic. Valverde is a talented and popular coach who has made excellent additions to the squad.

Atletico Madrid

Coach Diego Simeone

Key arrivals Leo Baptistao (Rayo Vallecano), Martin Demichelis (Malaga), Jose Gimenez (Danubio, Uru), David Villa (Barcelona)

Key departures Radamel Falcao (Monaco, Fra), Silvio Pereira (Benfica, Por, on loan)

Simeone has warned that Atletico will not improve unless they strengthen their squad in the wake of Falcao’s departure. They have already missed out on Jeremy Toulalan, but Simeone did get Villa and they will be competitive again.


Coach Tito Vilanova

Key arrivals Neymar (Santos, Bra)

Key departures Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich, Ger), Bojan Krkic (Ajax, Hol, on loan), Andreu Fontas (Celta Vigo), Marc Muniesa (Stoke City, Eng), David Villa (Atletico Madrid)

So, can Lionel Messi and Neymar play together? That is the question that most occupies the thoughts of fans as the new season starts. And will Vilanova strengthen the defence? The relative pessimism is curious after a record-breaking season in which they reached 100 points – but that does not mean it is entirely unfounded.

Celta Vigo

Coach Luis Enrique

Key arrivals Charles (Almeria), Andreu Fontas (Barcelona), Nolito (Benfica, Por), Rafinha (Barcelona, on loan)
Key departures Iago Aspas (Liverpool, Eng), Roberto Lago (Getafe)

Survival on the final day was not enough to keep Abel Resino in a job and he has been replaced by Enrique. There’s excitement about Celta, even though the departed Aspas was by far their most important player.


Coach Fran Escriba

Key arrivals Manu Del Mora (Sevilla, on loan), Miroslav Stevanovic (Sevilla, on loan)

Key departures none

Back in the top flight after 25 years, Elche topped the second tier all last season. They have stuck with coach Escriba, who worked as assistant to Quique Sanchez Flores at Atletico.


Coach Javier Aguirre

Key arrivals Juan Rafael Fuentes (Cordoba), Abraham Gonzalez (Alcorcon), Manuel Lanzarote (Sabadell)

Key departures Jordi Amat (Swansea City, Eng), Raul Baena (Rayo Vallecano), Joan Verdu
(Real Betis)

Aguirre arrived at Espanyol on a rescue mission and led his side to survival with weeks to spare – at which point they promptly stopped winning. The question now is whether he can be as successful with different objectives and construct a team from the start. The loss of Verdu is a big blow to their hopes.


Coach Luis Garcia Plaza

Key arrivals Roberto Lago (Celta Vigo), Pedro Leon (Real Madrid), Oriol Riera (Alcorcon)

Key departures Abdelaziz Barrada (Al Jazira, UAE), Mane (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Isr)

Getafe continue under Garcia with the hope of being able to take that small step that converts mid-table safety into European football. They are likely to turn to young on-loan signings from other big clubs, following a formula that has proven relatively successful before.


Coach Lucas Alcaraz

Key arrivals Yacine Brahimi (Rennes, Fra), Manuel Iturra (Malaga), Ivan Kelava (Dinamo Zagreb, Cro), Piti (Rayo Vallecano), Riki (Deportivo La Coruna)

Key departures Silvan Widmer (Udinese, Ita)

Alcaraz’s arrival saw the club survive comfortably last season and by the end of the campaign they were a team that was nice to watch too. Although on-loan Nolito has gone, the arrival of Iturra and Piti offers hope.


Coach Joaquin Caparros

Key arrivals David Barral (Orduspor, Tur), Issam El Adoua (Guimaraes, Por), Andreas Ivanschitz (Mainz, Ger), Javi Jimenez (Real Murcia), Jordi Xumetra (Elche)

Key departures Sergio Ballesteros (released), Jose Barkero (released), Michel (Valencia), Gustavo Munua (Fiorentina, Ita)

Levante have been marked by the match-fixing allegations that exploded at the end of last season, with Barkero and captain Ballesteros both leaving.


Coach Bernd Schuster

Key arrivals Vitorino Antunes (Pacos Ferreira, Por), Flavio Ferreira (Academica, Por), Roque Santa Cruz (Manchester City, Eng)

Key departures Martin Demichelis (Atletico Madrid), Isco (Real Madrid), Manuel Iturra (Granada), Joaquin (Fiorentina, Ita), Jeremy Toulalan (Monaco, Fra)

Former coach Manuel Pellegrini, Isco, Toulalan and Iturra have all departed with more likely to come as Malaga’s restructuring continues in compliance with Financial Fair Play and the drying up of money from Sheikh Al Thani.


Coach Jose Luis Mendilibar

Key arrivals Jordan Loties (Nancy, Fra)

Key departures Kike Sola (Athletic Bilbao)

Mendilibar and veteran captain Patxi Punal are still there, but there have been important exits, such as that of Sola. “I don’t think we have signed stars so the objective next season is clearly survival and the sooner the better,” says Punal.

Rayo Valecano

Coach Paco Jemez

Key arrivals Raul Baena (Espanyol), Nery Castillo (Pachuca, Mex)
Key departures Leo Baptistao (Atletico Madrid), Alejandro Dominguez (Olympiakos, Gre), Javier Fuego (Valencia), Piti (Granada)

Last season’s revelations, despite financial crisis and administrators watching over their every move, saw Rayo playing brave, attacking football. However, a lot of players have left this summer and Jemez must start all over again.

Real Betis

Coach Pepe Mel

Key arrivals Stephan Andersen (Evian, Fra), Cedric (Numancia), Chuli (Recreativo Huelva), Juanfran (Real Madrid), Lorenzo Reyes (Huachipato, Chl), Markus Steinhoefer (Basel, Swi), Joan Verdu (Espanyol)

Key departures Adrian (West Ham United, Eng), Benat Etxebarria (Athletic Bilbao),
Jose Canas (Swansea City, Eng), Alejandro Pozuelo (Swansea, Eng)

Mel has done a superb job at Betis and although the loss of Benat and others are significant too (Canas and Adrian played important roles last season), there is optimism as they prepare for a return to Europe.

Real Madrid

Coach Carlo Ancelotti

Key arrivals Dani Carvajal (Bayer Leverkusen, Ger), Casemiro (Sao Paulo, Bra), Asier Illarramendi (Real Sociedad), Isco (Malaga)

Key departures Jose Callejon (Napoli, Ita), Ricardo Carvalho (Monaco, Fra), Pedro Leon (Getafe)

The Ancelotti era begins with a different look to the Madrid side. Isco is an exciting signing who points to a different approach this season and there is a desire at the Bernabeu to turn the page quickly and move on from the reign of Jose Mourinho.

Real Sociedad

Coach Jagoba Arrasate

Key arrivals Jose Angel (Roma, Ita, on loan), Haris Seferovic (Fiorentina, Ita)

Key departures Asier Illarramendi (Real Madrid)

Arguably Spain’s most impressive side last season when they played swift, technically accomplished football and clinched a first Champions League place in a decade. Few are concerned at the departure of coach Philippe Montanier, but the loss of Illaramendi is a real shame.


Coach Unai Emery

Key arrivals Carlos Bacca (Club Brugge, Blg), Beto (Braga, Por),  Daniel Carrico (Reading, Eng, on loan), Jairo (Racing Santander), Marko Marin (Chelsea, Eng, on loan), Nicolas Pareja (Spartak Moscow, Rus, on loan), Raul Rusescu (Steaua Bucharest),
Vitolo (Las Palmas)

Key departures Luis Alberto (Liverpool, Eng), Jose Campana (Crystal Palace, Eng), Antonio Luna (Aston Villa, Eng), Jesus Navas (Manchester City, Eng), Alvaro Negredo (Manchester City, Eng), Andres Palop (Leverkusen, Ger), Emir Spahic (Leverkusen, Ger)

When he took over as coach, Emery gave Sevilla some of the competitiveness and organisation they had lacked – at home, at least. Away from home they won just once and the days of challenging at the top have gone. The sale of Navas leaves a huge gap.


Coach Miroslav Djukic

Key arrivals Javier Fuego (Rayo Vallecano), Michel (Levante), Oriol Romeu (Chelsea, Eng, on loan), Nelson Valdez (Rubin Kazan, Rus)

Key departures Roberto Soldado

Valencia have a new president and a new coach, and although the economic situation remains drastic they are talking about trying to compete at the very highest level and resisting big name sales. Djukic is a popular and impressive boss who will still have one of the strongest squads in the country at his disposal, even though there will be departures.


Coach Juan Ignacio Martinez

Key arrivals Zakarya Bergdich (Lens, Fra), Gilberto Garcia (Once Caldas, Col)

Key departures none

Although they largely went under the radar, Valladolid were worth watching last season. On a limited budget, they stayed up with
some comfort and performed admirably, quick on the break and occasionally expansive.


Coach Marcelino

Key arrivals Giovani Dos Santos (Mallorca), Aleksandar Pantic (Red Star Belgrade, Ser), Tomas Pina (Mallorca)
Key departures Jonathan De Guzman (Swansea City, Eng, on loan), Olof Mellberg (Copenhagen, Den), Marcos Senna (New York Cosmos, USA), Cristian Zapata (Milan, Ita)

Although not exactly rolling in ready cash, the club do have a financial and social stability that means that they should stay up. Senna promised to help the side back into La Liga and he kept his word before heading off to the United States.

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