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Barca to begin against Athletic

Reigning La Liga champions Barcelona will get their 2015-16 season under way with an away trip to Athletic Bilbao, while Rafael Benitez’s Real Madrid tenure begins at newly promoted Sporting Gijon.

Luis Enrique’s Barca won the title by two points ahead of Real last term, also claiming the Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League to complete the treble.

They will be familiar with their opening-day opponents Athletic, whom they defeated in the Copa final, as the two sides will also contest the Supercopa de Espana before their first league meeting.

The two Supercopa clashes come on August 14 and 17, before their Liga encounter on August 23 completes a run of three matches between the sides in 10 days.

Sporting Gijon were promoted as Segunda Division runners-up last season, behind Real Betis, but they can hardly have asked for a tougher start with the visit of Benitez’s side on the opening weekend.

Carlo Ancelotti paid the price for failing to win La Liga or the Champions League last season, and the former Napoli boss will be keen to get off to a strong start.

The Spaniard will likely have one eye on the first Clasico of the season, which will take place on the weekend of November 8 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real’s city rivals Atletico also get going against a newly promoted side, as they take on Las Palmas at the Vicente Calderon.

Segunda champions Betis, meanwhile, host Villarreal while Valencia travel to Rayo Vallecano and UEFA Europa League winners Sevilla take on Malaga.

Elsewhere, Levante play host to Celta Vigo, Deportivo La Coruna take on Real Sociedad, Getafe visit Espanyol and Eibar go to Granada.

Tue 14 Jul, 2015
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