Barcelona begin their defense of the 2017-18 La Liga title on Saturday when Alaves visit the Camp Nou


The departure of Cristiano Ronaldo has changed the landscape of Spanish football, and a good start could see Barcelona quickly accelerate to an advantage over arch-rivals Real Madrid.


The new captain of the team, Lionel Messi, is now without peer, and the Argentine icon will be hungry for more accolades this season.


Alaves finished comfortably above the relegation zone last season in the middle of the schedule, and they are hoping to break into the top ten this season.





This is how you can watch the match:

                                          

Date: Saturday, August 18th


Time: 4:15 PM (ET), 9:15 PM (GMT)


The odds: Barcelona wins: 20-167, Alaves wins: 13-1, draws: 8-1


Live broadcast: beIN Sports CONNECT (US), Eleven Sports (UK)


TV: beIN Sports (USA)


Progress


A new season begins at Camp Nou, but the expectations remain the same for Messi and his fellow Blaugrana team-mates.


Last year, the Catalans defeated the Capital Challenge, finishing 14 points ahead of Atletico Madrid and 17 points over Real.


Ernesto Valverde had great success in his first season as Barcelona coach, and the goal now will be to complete the National Cup with European glory.


Alaves come after a respectable season last season, finishing 14th and 18th in the relegation struggle.


Ghanaian international Patrick Tomasi has joined Mendezorroza's squad, and the striker should be adding creativity and goals this season.


Barcelona joined their team by signing Chilean Arturo Vidal from Bayern Munch, and the midfielder will bring extra energy to the defense.


The 31-year-old made 30 appearances for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and Champions League last season and brings the Camp Nou a lot of experience.


Barcelona will want a quick start, and Alaves will likely suffer after suffering 21 league losses last season.


An eye will also be on Real with new coach Julen Lopetegui on his head, forcing the Blaugrana to show their intent at the start of the new season.

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