Here we go again. It's been one year to the day since everyone prematurely announced the death of LaLiga following Lionel Messi's shocking transfer to PSG. Real Madrid was yesterday's news and Barcelona was a finished club, or so the story went.
Fast forward 365 days and Real Madrid is the reigning European champion and Karim Benzema is the Ballon d'Or favorite. Down in Catalonia, the appointment of Xavi recharged Barça while Robert Lewandowski — Benzema's closest challenger for the world's top individual prize — has joined from Bayern Munich.
The world's best players and teams play in LaLiga; same as it ever was.
The start of a new campaign brings all sorts of intrigue. Can Los Merengues defend their title with the same everlasting core or will Carlo Ancelotti need to rely more on the club's emerging stars? Barcelona's leading characters, on the other hand, will now face a new level of scrutiny with the focus shifted to results — how will the likes of Xavi, Pedri and Ansu Fati deal with the pressure?
And what of the challengers? Atlético has largely stood pat in the market with Diego Simeone charged with getting the most out of talents like João Félix and Matheus Cunha. Julen Lopetegui also leads a settled Sevilla team that'll make of fortress of the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. Real Sociedad, Villarreal, Gennaro Gattuso's Valencia, Manuel Pellegrini's Real Betis and Nico Williams' Athletic Club also get the pulse racing.
Based on the average of our writers' predictions, this is how we think LaLiga finishes.
La Liga Table Prediction 22-23 (21-22 finish)
#1. Real Madrid (1st)
#2. Barcelona (2nd)
#3. Atlético Madrid (3rd)
#4. Real Sociedad (6th)
#5. Villarreal (7th)
#6. Sevilla (4th)
#7. Valencia (9th)
#8. Athletic Club (8th)
#9. Real Betis (5th)
#10. Celta Vigo (11th)
#11. Rayo Vallecano (12th)
#12. Espanyol (14th)
#13. Osasuna (10th)
#14. Getafe (15th)
#15. Elche (13th)
#16. Almería (Promoted)
#17. Mallorca (16th)
#18. Girona (Promoted)
#19. Valladolid (Promoted)
#20. Cádiz (17th)
Some Key 2022 LaLiga Dates
Friday, Aug. 12: LaLiga begins with Osasuna vs. Sevilla
Sunday, Aug. 21: Real Sociedad vs. Barcelona
Sunday, Sep. 18: Atlético Madrid vs. Real Madrid
Sunday, Oct. 16: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona
Sunday, Nov. 6: Real Betis vs. Sevilla
Saturday, Dec. 31: Barcelona vs. Espanyol