Watch on ABC7 and stream at ESPN.com on Saturday, starting at 2:30 p.m. ET
NEW YORK -- Football fans around the world will tune in as LaLiga returns to action (stream matches, highlights on season on ESPN+).
Former star and current ESPN Soccer Analyst Pablo Zabelata has a preview:
Barcelona finished second last season and it was reluctantly accepted as a success after Xavi Hernandez took over as manager in November with the team languishing ninth in LaLiga. A second-placed finish this time round will not be so highly regarded after what could perhaps be dubbed one of the most remarkable transfer windows of all time.
On Sunday, Real Madrid begin their title defence against promoted side Almeria.
The euphoria generated by Real Madrid's 14th Champions League win in May hasn't faded yet. That victory over Liverpool, close on the heels of a 35th LaLiga title wrapped up a month earlier, left Madrid feeling self-assured and confident about this team's trajectory. Stability and prudence have been the watchwords this summer, with no panic buying, and a determination to move only for elite players who can genuinely add something to the side.
Coaches have swapped dugouts, players have departed, others have arrived with much fanfare (and lots of controversy), and fans are already debating whether Karim Benzema or Robert Lewandowski will score more goals.
ESPN+ will stream all 10 opening week matches in English and Spanish, kickoff of the season with CA Osasuna vs. Sevilla FC, live from El Sadar Stadium in Pamplona, on Friday, Aug. 12, at 3 p.m. ET. Coverage starts with a 30-minute ESPN FC pregame show in English and Fuera de Juego pregame special in Spanish.
Saturday's FC Barcelona vs. Rayo Vallecano will air live on ABC, ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes (in English and Spanish). Coverage kicks off at 2:30 p.m. ET, with a 30-minute pregame show originating from Camp Nou live on ABC, ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes. On Sunday (4 p.m. ET, ESPN+), reigning champions Real Madrid will get their campaign on the road against newly promoted Almería.
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