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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Real Madrid begin Spanish title defence with trip to Deportivo La Coruna

First clasico at the Bernabeu in Round 17; return leg at Camp Nou in Round 36

Real Madrid's players during a celebration after their victory against Juventus at the Uefa Champions League final. Curto De La Torre / AFP
Real Madrid's players during a celebration after their victory against Juventus at the Uefa Champions League final. Curto De La Torre / AFP

Real Madrid's defence of their Primera Liga title will start with a match at Deportivo La Coruna next month.

The champions will take on Pepe Mel's men at the Riazor on a date to be confirmed between August 18 and 21.

Barcelona, who finished the 2016/17 campaign three points behind Real in second, start at home to Real Betis.

In what is a repeat of last season's opening Camp Nou fixture, Luis Enrique's successor Ernesto Valverde will take charge of his first league match as Barca manager.

Spanish giants Real and Barcelona will not face each other until the 17th round of fixtures, at the Bernabeu, with the return clasico at Camp Nou representing the stand-out fixture of Round 36.

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Atletico Madrid, third last season, welcome league newcomers Girona to their new Wanda Metropolitano home.

There are also tough early tests for the other top-flight new boys - with Segunda Division champions Levante travelling to Villarreal while Getafe, who beat Tenerife in the play-off final, are away to another Europa League side, Athletic Bilbao.

Sevilla beat Espanyol 6-4 at the Sanchez Pizjuan on the opening day last season - and the fixture is repeated on day one in 2017/18.

Elsewhere, Valencia host Las Palmas in another repeated curtain-raising fixture, Celta Vigo are at home to Real Sociedad, Malaga face Eibar and Alaves travel to Leganes.