MADRID (AP) – With or without Lionel Messi, Barcelona already know that they will start their season at home against Villarreal in late September.
The Spanish league announced its schedule on Monday and the first round is scheduled for the second weekend in September. But Barcelona and the other teams who played later last season will see some of their matches postponed so that they have time to prepare.
All matches will continue to be played in the empty stadiums. The league hoped that at least some fans would be admitted to the matches, but Spain struggled to contain a new wave of coronavirus cases.
Messi, who told Barcelona last week he wants to leave, missed the team’s first training day on Monday. He hadn’t already turned up on Sunday when the team had been tested for coronavirus at the club’s training center. He wants to leave with a clause that allows him to leave for free at the end of the season, but Barcelona said the clause has expired. He wants the great Argentine to stay at least until the end of his contract in June 2021.
There is no sign of how long the dispute will last, as neither the club nor the player seem willing to make concessions.
Barcelona’s first match would be against promoted Elche at the Camp Nou stadium, with the second against Athletic Bilbao.
The first clásico against Real Madrid will be at the end of October, again at Camp Nou. The second will be on 11 April in Madrid.
Real Madrid, who returned to training on Monday, will debut in the second round at Real Sociedad. Only Real Madrid’s first round match was postponed because they did not reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Atlético Madrid have obtained the first two rest rounds and will start at home against Granada.
The end of the championship is scheduled for May 2021.
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