The start to 2023 means a busy schedule for La Liga’s major sides with a packed January schedule on the horizon.
Alongside league and Copa del Rey action, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Real Betis, also travel to Saudi Arabia for the 2022/23 Spanish Supercopa.
Th reformatted tournament has proved to be controversial and you can check out the latest odds for the big kick off with Fun88.
The change has split opinion in Spain, with La Liga and the RFEF claiming a move to the Middle East was a necessary financial switch, but supporters have been left frustrated.
In the three tournaments in Jeddah or Riyadh, since 2020, Real Madrid have won three, and Carlo Ancelotti will be aiming for a first title of the campaign this month.
Ancelotti sealed a win in Riyadh at the start of 2022, as his side beat Athletic Club in the final, after losing to the Basque giants the previous year.
Real Madrid are favourites to defend their title in Saudi Arabia, after qualifying as La Liga winners from 2022, and Ancelotti will take a strong squad, ahead of taking on Valencia in the semi finals.
However, the Italian is mindful of the demands extra games place on his veteran players – as they return from the 2022 World Cup break – ahead of Champions League and Club World Cup commitments in February.
Xavi is yet to win a trophy as Barcelona boss, following his return to the club just over 12 months ago, but his priority is La Liga in 2023.
La Blaugrana’s Champions League group stage exit places them in a tricky situation in 2023 as they face Manchester United in a Europa League play off.
A late Copa del Rey win over minnows Intercity FC caused some concern for the former Spanish international, and he is unlikely to invest too much energy in this sojourn to Saudi Arabia, as they look to make a real fist of the incoming title battle.
Real Betis’ memorable Copa del Rey win at the end of 2021/22 ended decades without a trophy for the Andalucians.
A mixed run of form prior to the World Cup put pressure on head coach Manuel Pellegrini but the former Manchester City boss looks to have ridden out the storm.
Pellegrini is realistic about his priorities in the second half of the campaign, and he admitted to concerns over player fatigue this month, as per reports from ESPN Deportes.
However, with no European football on the agenda until the end of February, Pellegrini could plot a shock in their last four tie with Barcelona.
Los Che head to Saudi Arabia as the most out-of-form team after a poor return to action after the World Cup.
Gennaro Gattuso is facing increasing scrutiny, after a difficult first year in Spain, and he will be happy to get this tournament over and done with, as quickly as possible.
After failing to qualify for Europe last season, Gattuso is tasked with driving Valencia up the table in the coming months, and Real Madrid will be confident of getting past them on January 11.
However, they have won just once in league action in their last eight outings, as part of a run stretching back to mid-October.