La Liga 2020/21. Who has the best opportunity to catch the glory?

It was the season which lasted longer than any other. A campaign which started with Aritz Aduriz’s stunning overhead goal defeating Barcelona and ended with Leganes, dead on their feet, relegated after failing to find a late winner against Real Madrid.

Despite the three-month suspension of football and the longest of waits, Madrid were crowned champions. It was just the second time they had tasted domestic glory since 2012 but it was clinched emphatically – on the penultimate matchday of the campaign, with a win over Villarreal taking them seven points clear in the standings of La Liga Table 2019/20.

It is not surprising that football free odds on are once again instilling Madrid as title favourites next season. After all, this was a season defined by the core of their team. Thibaut Courtois was imperious as goalkeeper – winning the league’s Zamora award for fewest goals conceded. It was the season of their captain Sergio Ramos, who scored 11 La Liga goals including six in the final ten matches. No Madrid player featured more than their ever-dependable holding midfielder Casemiro, while striker Karim Benzema once again shone with a stellar season – hitting 21 La Liga goals for the second season in succession.

There are also set to be a cluster of exits from the Madrid playing squad this summer. Once all loanees have returned, they will have 37 players on the books of their first-team. Achraf Hakimi and Javi Sanchez have already been sold to Inter and Real Valladolid respectively, but many others are likely to follow.

Two players that Los Blancos are keener to sell than any other are Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez. Both were once among the most in-demand players in world football but both are now peripheral figures at the club, no longer in the first-team plans of boss Zinedine Zidane and also eating up a sizable chunk of their wage bill.

There will be other exits too but for players who the club see a bright future for. Martin Odegaard will complete a second season on loan at Real Sociedad while Takefusa Kubo also looks set for another La Liga loan switch, following a tremendous debut season at Mallorca – whom he was unable to save from relegation.

This will be a summer where Madrid fine-tune their squad but no major renovation works are needed, while the ongoing chaos at El Clasico rivals Barcelona means Los Blancos are likely to retain their league crown for the first time since 2008.