Spanish League at a glance

A look at the Spanish league teams ahead of the new season,

which begins on Saturday:

Athletic Bilbao(equals)

Founded: 1898

Colors: red, white and black

Stadium: San Mames (capacity 40,000)

Coach: Marcelo Bielsa (Argentina, second season)

Honors: 8 leagues, 23 cups

Last season: 10th

Key acquisitions: Aritz Aduriz (Valencia), Galder Cerrajeria

(Murcia), Ismael Lopez (Lugo), Ustaritz Aldekoaotalora (Real

Betis)

Significant departures: Igor Gabilondo (AEK Larnaca), Pablo

Orbaiz (Rubin Kazan)

Prospects: After reaching the final in the Europa League and

Copa del Rey and forging one of Europe’s most exciting attacks,

second-year coach Marcelo Bielsa should greatly improve on Bilbao’s

10th-place finish if it can keep striker Fernando Llorente.

Atletico Madrid(equals)

Founded: 1903

Colors: red, white and blue

Stadium: Vicente Calderon (capacity 54,851)

Coach: Diego Simeone (Argentina, second season)

Honors: 9 leagues, 9 cups, 2 Europa Leagues, 1 European Cup

Winners’ Cup, 1 World Club Championship

Last season: fifth

Key acquisitions: Raul Garcia (Osasuna), Cristian Rodriguez

(Porto), Cata Diaz (Getafe), Emre Belozoglu (Fenerbache), Diego

Costa, Jorge Pullido (Rayo Vallecano)

Significant departures: Alvaro Dominguez (Borussia

Monchengladbach), Antonio Lopez (Mallorca), Eduardo Salvio

(Benfica), Fran Merida (Hercules), Luis Perea (Cruz Azul), Paulo

Assuncao (Sao Paulo)

Prospects: Atletico Madrid is poised to make a return to the top

of the table and a Champions League berth with the Europa League

champions having consolidated under coach Diego Simeone and striker

Radamel Falcao.

Barcelona(equals)

Founded: 1899

Colors: navy and crimson

Stadium: Camp Nou (capacity 98,772)

Coach: Tito Vilanova (first season)

Last season: runner-up

Honors: 4 European Cups, 4 European Cup Winners’ Cups, 3 Inter

City Fairs Cups, 4 European Supercups, 21 leagues, 26 cups, 2 Club

World Cup

Key acquisitions: Jordi Alba (Valencia)

Significant departures: Seydou Keita (Dalian Aerbin)

Prospects: Loaded with experience, talent and, of course,

three-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi coming off his best

season ever, Barcelona’s goal to recapture the title from Real

Madrid will hinge on how well new coach Tito Vilanova will respond

to the pressure of taking over from Pep Guardiola.

Real Betis(equals)

Founded: 1907

Colors: green and white

Stadium: Manuel Ruiz de Lopera (capacity 55,500)

Coach: Pepe Mel (third season)

Honors: 1 league, 2 cups

Last season: 13th

Key acquisitions: Joel Campbell (Arsenal), Juan Carlos

(Zaragoza), Paulao (Saint Etienne), Ruben Perez (Atletico Madrid),

Salvador Agra (Olhanense)

Significant departures: Roque Santa Cruz (Manchester City),

Iriney Santos (Granada), Javier Matilla (Real Murcia), Ezequiel

Calvente (Freiburg), Ustaritz Aldekoaotalora (Athletic Bilbao),

Jefferson Montero (Monarcas Moreila)

Prospects: After an erratic return to the first division last

season with flashes of attacking verve, Betis kept most of its

players, led by striker Ruben Castro and midfielder Benat

Etxebarria, and should fight for at least a mid-table finish and

even a Europa League spot.

Celta(equals)

Founded: 1923

Colors: sky blue and white

Stadium: Balaidos (capacity 31,800)

Coach: Paco Herrera (third season)

Honors: none

Last season: promoted

Key acquisitions: Augusto Fernandez (Velez Sarsfield), Gustavo

Cabral (Levante), Javi Varas (Sevilla), Samuel Llorca

(Hercules)

Significant departures: David Catala (AEK Larnaca)

Prospects: Celta is back in the topflight after four seasons in

the second division looking to recover its former status that took

it to the round of 16 in the 2003-04 Champions League.

Deportivo La Coruna

Founded: 1906

Color: blue and white

Stadium: Riazor (capacity 34,600)

Coach: Jose Oltra (second season)

Honors: 1 league, 2 cups

Last season: promoted

Key acquisitions: Nelson Oliveira, Roderick Goncalves (Benfica),

Carlos Marchena, Javier Camunas (Villarreal), Abel Aguilar

(Hercules), Alberto Rodriguez, Andres Santos, Evaldo (Sporting

Lisbon)

Significant departures: Andres Guardado (Valencia), Diego

Colotto (Espanyol), Pablo Alvarez (Lugo)

Prospects: After one season in the second division, a reinforced

Deportivo team should come back strong with its mix of veterans and

young talent, including Portugal striker Nelson Oliveira.

Espanyol(equals)

Founded: 1900

Colors: blue and white

Stadium: Cornella-El Prat (capacity 40,500)

Coach: Mauricio Pochettino (Argentina, fifth season)

Honors: 4 cups

Last season: 14th

Key acquisitions: Joan Capdevila (Benfica), Diego Colotto

(Deportivo La Coruna), Sergio Tejera (Mallorca), Wakaso Mubarak

(Villarreal)

Significant departures: Javi Marquez (Mallorca), Jordi Amat

(Rayo Vallecano), Kalu Uche (Kasimpasa), Ndri Romaric (Zaragoza),

Vladimir Weiss (Pescara), Philippe Coutinho (Inter Milan)

Prospects: Espanyol’s loss of various creative players has left

it without much punch in attack, and signs of exhaustion from coach

Pochettino may be a harbinger of the team’s struggle to stay

up.

Getafe(equals)

Founded: 1946

Color: blue

Stadium: Alfonso Perez Coliseum (capacity 17,000)

Coach: Luis Garcia (second season)

Honors: none

Last season: 11th

Key acquisitions: Angel Lafita (Zaragoza), Xavi Torres

(Levante), Adrian Colunga (Sporting Gijon)

Significant departures: Angel Arizmendi (Mallorca), Javier

Casquero (Almeria), Cata Diaz (Atletico Madrid), Pedro Mosquera

(Real Madrid), Oscar Usarti (Boca Juniors), Pedro Rios

(Levante)

Prospects: Under the steady hand of coach Luis Garcia and with

the promising additions of Angel Lafita in attack and Xavi Torres

in midfield, Getafe will likely avoid a relegation battle.

Granada(equals)

Founded: 1931

Colors: red and white

Stadium: Los Carmenes (capacity 16,200)

Coach: Juan Anquela (first season)

Honors: none

Last season: 17th

Key acquisitions: Youssef El-Arabi (Al Hilal), Borja Gomez

(Karpaty), Antonio ”Tono” Rodriguez (Racing Santander), Antonio

Floro, Gabriel Torje, Ritchie Kitoko (Udinese), Iriney Santos, Alex

Bernal (Real Betis), Juanma Ortiz (Rangers)

Significant departures: Abel Gomez (Cordoba), Carlos Martins,

Franco Jara, Julio Cesar (Benfica), Daniel Pudil, Ikechi Anya

(Watford)

Prospects: Barely avoiding the drop last season- its first in

the topflight in 35 years- Granada will have to fight for every

point to avoid relegation with its third head coach in under a year

and with midfield standouts Carlos Martins and Franco Jara both

gone.

Levante(equals)

Founded: 1909

Color: blue and red

Stadium: Ciutat de Valencia (capacity 25,354)

Coach: Juan Ignacio Martinez (second season)

Honors: none

Last season: sixth

Key acquisitions: Papakouli Diop (Racing Santander), Pedro Rios

(Getafe), Nikolaos Karabelas (AEK Athens), Christian Lell (Hertha

Berlin), Theofanis Gekas (Samsunspor)

Significant departures: Arouna Kone (Wigan), Xavi Torres

(Getafe), Javi Venta (Villarreal), Valmiro ”Valdo” Lopez

(Atlante), Ruben Suarez (Guizhou Renhe), Pedro Botelho

(Paranaense)

Prospects: The sensation of the Spanish league last season,

Levante will have to be careful to not get distracted by its maiden

Europa League campaign or else it could pay the price in the

league.

Malaga(equals)

Founded: 1994

Colors: blue and white

Stadium: La Rosaleda (28,963)

Coach: Manuel Pellegrini (Chile, third season)

Honors: none

Last season: fourth

Key acquisitions: none

Significant departures: Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Jose Rondon

(Rubin Kazan), Ruud Van Nistelrooy (retired), Joris Mathijsen

(Feyenoord)

Prospects: A sudden change in course by Malaga’s Qatari owners

has resulted in key players being sold to help balance the books,

crushing the team’s chances of making a mark in the Champions

League or shooting for even higher marks in Spain.

Mallorca(equals)

Founded: 1916

Colors: red and black

Stadium: Iberostar (capacity 23,142)

Coach: Joaquin Caparros (second season)

Honors: 1 cup

Last season: eighth

Key acquisitions: Antonio Lopez (Atletico Madrid), Angel

Arizmendi (Getafe), Javi Marquez (Espanyol), Ruben Mino

(Barcelona)

Significant departures: Chori Castro (Real Sociedad), Joao

Victor (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Pablo Caceres (Torino), Pau Cendros

(Gent), Ivan Ramis (Wigan), Sergio Tejera (Espanyol)

Prospects: Always strong on its island home, Mallorca might pull

off a few surprises in its first complete season under coach

Joaquin Caparros after making a pair of interesting signings in

playmaker Javi Marquez and former Atletico veteran Antonio

Lopez.

Osasuna(equals)

Founded: 1920

Colors: red and black

Stadium: Reyno de Navarra (capacity 19,800)

Coach: Jose Luis Mendilibar (third season)

Honors: none

Last season: seventh

Key acquisitions: Alejandro Arribas (Rayo Vallecano), Emiliano

Armenteros (Sevilla), Joseba Llorente (Real Sociedad), Sisinio

Gonzalez (Valladolid)

Significant departures: Raul Garcia (Atletico Madrid), Dejan

Lekic (Genclerbirligi), Ibrahima Balde (Kuban Krasnodar), Roversio

(Orduspor), Eneko Satrustegui (Numancia), Sergio Fernandez

(Sporting Gijon)

Prospects: Historically tough in Pamplona, Osasuna is set to

again rely on a rowdy home crowd to will it to victory while likely

suffering on the road to most probably settle in a mid-table

finish.

Rayo Vallecano(equals)

Founded: 1924

Colors: red and white

Stadium: Teresa Rivero

Coach: Paco Jemez (first season)

Honors: none

Last season: 15th

Key acquisitions: Adrian Gonzalez (Racing Santander), Alejandro

Galvez (Sporting Gijon), Jordi Amat (Espanyol), Nicki Bille

(Villarreal)

Significant departures: Alejandro Arribas (Osasuna), David

Cobeno (Vaslui), Miguel ”Michu” Perez (Swansea), Daniel Pacheco

(Liverpool), Raul Tamudo (Pachuca), Jose Movilla (without team)

Prospects: The financially troubled club will have a hard time

remaining in the first division, especially after the exit of coach

Jose Sandoval, forward Miguel ”Michu” Perez and strikers Diego

Costa and Raul Tamudo.

Real Madrid(equals)

Founded: 1902

Color: white

Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu (capacity 80,000)

Coach: Jose Mourinho (Portugal, third season)

Honors: 9 European Cups, 2 UEFA Cups, 3 World Club

Championships, 32 leagues, 18 cups, 1 European Supercup

Last season: champion

Key acquisitions: none

Significant departures: Hamit Altintop (Galatasaray)

Prospects: Real Madrid is a slight favorite over Barcelona to

retain its title if coach Jose Mourinho can keep his players

focused on the league race despite pressure mounting to win the

club’s 10th European Cup.

Real Sociedad(equals)

Founded: 1909

Colors: blue and white

Stadium: Anoeta (capacity 32,000)

Coach: Philippe Montanier (France, second season)

Honors: 2 leagues, 2 cups

Last season: 12th

Key acquisitions: Chori Castro (Mallorca), Jose Angel (Roma)

Significant departures: Joseba Llorente (Rayo Vallecano), Vadim

Demidov (Eintracht Frankfurt), Mikel Aranburu (retired)

Prospects: Don’t be shocked to see the San Sebastian club make a

run at the Europa League spots and score a slew of goals, with

Chori Castro brought in to link up with Carlos Vela and Antoine

Griezmann up front.

Sevilla

Founded: 1905

Color: white

Stadium: Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan (capacity 45,500)

Coach: Michel Gonzalez (second season)

Honors: 2 UEFA Cups, 1 league, 5 cups, 1 European Supercup

Last season: ninth

Key acquisitions: Alberto Botia (Sporting Gijon), Bernardo

Espinosa (Racing Santander), Bryan Rabello (Colo Colo), Cicinho

(Palmeiras), Diego Lopez (Villarreal), Geoffrey Kondogbia (Lens),

Hedwiges Maduro (Valencia)

Significant departures: Frederic Kanoute (Beijing Guoan), Julien

Escude (Besiktas), Javi Varas (Celta), Tiberio Guarente

(Bolonia)

Prospects: Unless striker Alvaro Negredo steps up and Jose

Antonio Reyes rediscovers his lost form, Sevilla is likely to be

out of the running to return to the top four in Spain and the prize

of playing in the Champions League.

Valencia(equals)

Founded: 1919

Colors: white and black

Stadium: Mestalla (capacity 55,000)

Coach: Mauricio Pellegrino (Argentina, first season)

Honors: 6 leagues, 7 cups, 1 UEFA Cup, 1 European Cup Winners’

Cup, 2 Inter City Fairs Cups

Last season: third

Key acquisitions: Andres Guardado (Deportivo La Coruna),

Fernando Gago (Roma), Nelson Valdez (Rubin Kazan), Joao Pereira

(Sporting Lisbon)

Significant departures: Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao), Hedwiges

Maduro (Sevilla), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Mehmet Topal

(Fenerbache)

Prospects: Valencia has done well to hold on to third place for

the past three seasons, and it could repeat that commendable feat

if new coach Mauricio Pellegrino can restore the players’

commitment after it faded last year under Unai Emery.

Valladolid(equals)

Founded: 1928

Color: purple and white

Stadium: Jose Zorrilla stadium (capacity 26,512)

Coach: Miroslav Djukic (second season)

Honors: 1 cup

Last season: promoted

Key acquisitions: Antonio Rukavina (1860 Munich), Juan Neira

(Gimnasia La Plata), Patrick Ebert (Hertha Berlin), Enrique Casin

(Logrones), Luis Sastre, Julian Ramos (Huesca)

Significant departures: Sisinio Gonzalez (Osasuna), Dani Aquino

(Real Oviedo), Felipe Alfonso (Villarreal B), Lassana Camara

(Bari)

Prospects: Along with fellow promoted teams Celta and Deportivo,

Valladolid has a reputation for being a scrappy topflight survivor

and that should be enough in its first season back after two

campaigns in the second division.

Zaragoza(equals)

Founded: 1932

Colors: white and blue

Stadium: La Romareda (capacity 34,596)

Coach: Manolo Jimenez (second season)

Honors: 6 Cups, 1 Cup Winners’ Cup, 1 Inter City Fairs Cup

Last season: 16th

Key acquisitions: Alvaro Gonzalez (Racing Santander), Ndri

Romaric (Espanyol), Glenn Loovens (Celtic), Lucas Wilchez (Colo

Colo), Paco Montanes (Alcorcon)

Significant departures: Angel Lafita (Getafe), Luis Garcia

(Tigres), Matteo Contini (Siena), Paulo Da Silva (Pachuca)

Prospects: Expert in waiting until the last round to dodge the

descent into the second division, Zaragoza can expect another

season-long dogfight at the bottom of the standings.