Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Benzema, Pedri, Felix, Rüdiger, others battle for LaLiga’s glory

The 2022/23 LaLiga Santander season has kicked off with some of the biggest stars in world football.

• August 23, 2022

The 2022/23 LaLiga Santander season has kicked off with some of the biggest stars in world football and a host of impressive new signings showcasing Europe’s most competitive major league from top to bottom in stadiums across Spain and screens all around the world. 

This LaLiga Santander season is without doubt one of the most highly anticipated campaigns in decades. Reigning champions Real Madrid made some impressive summer signings to bolster their LaLiga and Champions League winning squad, but will they be able to hold on to their title in the face of bold and ambitious moves by FC Barcelona, who are going into their first full season with club icon Xavi Hernandez at the helm. Can Atlético de Madrid and Sevilla FC mount title challenges to rival the ElClasico rivals? Will the likes of Real Sociedad, Villarreal CF, cup champions Real Betis and sleeping giants Athletic Club and Valencia CF finally break through to be top level contenders? 

As with each new season, LaLiga Santander has welcomed a host of exciting new signings to join long-established superstars such as 2022 Ballon d’Or favourite Karim Benzema, 2021 Golden Boy Pedri and Joao Felix ahead of the new campaign. Champions Real Madrid quickly wrapped up the highly sought-after signings of Aurélien Tchouameni and Antonio Rüdiger, while FC Barcelona brought in a host of big names in a bid to wrestle the LaLiga Santander title back from their eternal rivals. Belgium national team lynchpin Axel Witsel has joined Diego Simeone’s squad over at Atlético de Madrid, while Real Betis beat off competition from across Europe to bring in Italian international centre-back Luiz Felipe and Sevilla FC added Isco, one of the most talented Spanish forwardsof his generation. 

New faces won’t be limited to the field either, with a number of high-profile movements in the dugout across LaLiga Santander. Ernesto Valverde and Diego Martinez are just two of the coaches with a proven track record of success returning to the Spanish top flight with Athletic Club and RCD Espanyol respectively, while World Cup winner and former AC Milan and Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso has taken the reins at Valencia CF, to name just a few. 

LaLiga continues to boast the best rising stars in the world game, too, with the likes of Gavi, already a first-team regular under Xavi at FC Barcelona and the youngest player to ever play for the Spanish national team; Eduardo Camavinga, the 19-year-old Real Madrid midfielder and favourite for the 2022 Golden Boy award; Athletic Club’s Nico Williams, a true breakout star last season; and Alexander Isak, still just 22 but already the main man up front for a Real Sociedad side chasing European success. 

As with each new season, LaLiga Santander also welcomes three new teams into the fold for the 2022/23 campaign in the shape of UD Almería, Real Valladolid and Girona FC. Ambitious UD Almería return to the top tier for the first time since 2015 after being crowned LaLiga SmartBank champions this past season, while fellow promoted sides Real Valladolid and Girona FC will be more familiar to LaLiga fans around the world having played in the top flight as recently as 2021 and 2019, respectively. 

With the first of 380 nail-biting encounters played out on August 12th between CA Osasuna and Sevilla FC at the new-look El Sadar, voted the 2021 World Stadium of the Year by Stadium Database, the big games come thick and fast soon after. The historic Madrid Derby between perennial title-challengers Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid will kick off the season’s derbies in September. ElClasico, which pits together FC Barcelona and Real Madrid in the most high-profile club match in world football, returns on the weekend of October 15th, while the historic and always entertaining Seville, Barcelona and Basque derbies follow in November, December and January, respectively. 

Games such as these are a big factor in why LaLiga is the most followed domestic football league on social media, with over 160 million fans all over the world enjoying LaLiga content in 20 different languagesacross 17 different platforms. But LaLiga is also leading the way in digital outreach for international fans with Play LaLiga, the only self-produced TikTok show by a European league, the creation of the first-ever mini-app on Alipay for Chinese fans, and the launch in Indonesia and Thailand of LaLiga Pass, a self-developed OTT offering all LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank matches for fans on demand, among many other initiatives. 

The 2022/23 season kick-off also marks a crucial moment for LaLiga off the pitch. Clubs across LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank are looking to take a giant step forward in their development and growth thanks to Boost LaLiga, a large-scale €2 billion investment project made possible by LaLiga’s agreement with investment fund CVC in December 2021. Clubs are already working across the board on ambitious development plans in areas such as strategy and business, infrastructure, international, brand and product development, digitalisation, and tech innovation, among others. 

Meanwhile, LaLiga Tech, the LaLiga subsidiary which offers technological and innovation solutions, continues to expand its business in over 50 countries withcompanies from multiple sectors including broadcasters, federations and leagues. LaLiga Tech aims to transform the sports and entertainment sector with the design and implementation of OTT services, applications, games, websites, fan engagement, the improvement and protection of content and competition management.World Padel Tour, Millicom, Sky Mexico and MotoGP rights holders Dorna are just some of the organisations who have already adopted tech solutions developed by LaLiga Tech to digitize their operations. 

Banco Santander returns as the competition’s title sponsor for a final season, while Mahou San Miguel and TVM join PUMA, EA Sports, Microsoft, BKT, Sorare, Socios.com and Dapper as global sponsors ahead of the 2022/23 season. LaLiga’s regional partners in Nigeria is Big Cola

With all the excitement, passion, drama, thrills and spills and competitiveness from top to bottom of LaLiga Santander guaranteed on every matchday with an unbeatable and best-ever television experience, you won’t want to miss a single moment of the 2022/23 campaign, which will be available on Supersport all throughout the season. Let the games begin!

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