How will Barcelona spend the Neymar cash? New coach Ernesto Valverde could use the money to re-build his squad, but the asking price of potential replacements for the Brazilian (Coutinho, Griezmann, Mbappe) will have gone up.
Diego Simeone’s old guard have defied their ages at Atletico for a long time, but can they keep doing it? They have some superb young players – some on the side, some coming through – but can they assimilate injuries or a loss of form from players like Diego Godin and Gabi?
Will Spain be World Cup contenders once more? A new era under Julen Lopetegui has started well and has its biggest test of all early in the season with the qualifier against Italy at the Bernabeu. The early signs are positive and there’s a renewed speed about the national side, while the next generation hammers at the door. Injuries and the season ahead will play their part, of course.
Never before has a league title been a squad success quite like Madrid’s last season. No one used the bench like they did and the way in which balance was maintained was remarkable. Yet there was always a sense that there was something temporary about the truce – the moment was perfect, but would not always be. That feeling was deepened by the departures this summer: put bluntly, James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata wanted more. Zinedine Zidane will seek to replicate that tactic this season, but doing so will not be simple.
Two coaches came and went, the second a disaster, and Malaga were in trouble last term, with relegation looking ever closer. But then along came Michel, and last season finished superbly. Smart, eloquent and cool, the former Madrid winger is optimistic that this season might start the same way. Or he would be if it wasn’t for the growing list of departures.
Under Quique Setien, Las Palmas played some of the most creative football in Spain last term. But then it all fell apart – not least because Setien is a purist when it comes to the play and a purist when it comes to being allowed to work too, and at Las Palmas he started to eye the interference with reticence. Now he’s at Betis, they will have to let him be himself.