Spanish Football League releases calendar, first 'El Clasico' Oct 27

Madrid, July 9 (IANS) The Spanish Football League published its full calendar of games for the coming season Tuesday.

The season kicks off Aug 17-18 and ends May 18, in order to give the international teams time to prepare for next summer's World Cup finals in Madrid, reported Xinhua.

As usual, when the calendar is published, there is huge interest to see the dates of several key matches, such as the two 'Clasicos' between traditional rivals FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. The two sides first meet in Barcelona's Camp Nou Stadium Oct 27 in the 10th round of matches while the return match in the Santiago Bernabeu will be played March 23.

Meanwhile league champions Barcelona kick off their season with an accessible home game against Levante, who will start the campaign with new coach Joaquin Caparros.

Real Madrid meanwhile begin their campaign with a more complicated game at home to Betis, who finished last season in seventh place and have a reputation for playing open attractive football.

Other important dates for the season are the Madrid derbies between Real and Atletico Madrid which will be played at the end of September and March 1.

Athletic Club Bilbao will play the first league game in the new San Mames Barria Stadium on Matchday 4, when they entertain Celta Vigo. Athletic will play their first home game of the season in Real Sociedad's Anoeta Stadium as work is completed on their new ground.

The always controversial Seville derbies between Sevilla and Betis will be played on Matchdays 14 and 33.

Meanwhile there has been further movement in the transfer market in recent days with Real Sociedad continuing to resist attempts from Real Madrid to sign their Spain U-21 midfielder Asier Illaramendi.

Real Sociedad president Jokin Aperribay has said his club does not want to sell one of their key players. Although he admitted speaking to Real Madrid about the player, he said his club had no intention of negotiating the sale of the 23-year-old.

Barcelona B central defender David Lomban has confirmed he will leave the Catalan side to join newly promoted Elche on a two year contract while Valladolid have signed goalkeeper Diego Marino and Sevilla are on the verge of confirming the services of Colombian striker Carlos Bacca from Belgian side Bruges.

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