MADRID: Defending Spanish champions Barcelona will host Real Madrid on the weekend of Oct 27-28 in the first El Clasico of the 2018/19 season, the Spanish football federation said Tuesday.
Real, who finished third in the league, 17 points behind champions Barca, will host the second meeting of the two Spanish giants on the weekend of March 2-3, the federation added as it unveiled the season calendar.
Following public comments from La Liga chief Javier Tebas, who said it was “not ideal” for the second Clasico meeting between Real and Barca last season to be played with the latter having already won the league title, the two sides will face off earlier this campaign.
The two giants will first meet at Camp Nou in the Catalan capital during Round 10, following both sides’ involvement in the third Champions League group game. Meanwhile, the Bernabeu fixture will during Round 26.
The season opens on the weekend of August 18-19, and ends on May 18-19.
Atletico Madrid, who finished third last season, travel to fourth-placed Valencia in the pick of the opening day’s games. Barca will host Basque outfit Alaves, while Real have a home tie against Getafe.
Other notable opening weekend fixtures see Villarreal host Real Sociedad, top division debutants Huesca visit Eibar and Celta Vigo take on Espanyol.
The Spanish capital’s derbies will be at Real’s Santiago Bernabeu at the end of September in the seventh match of the season and at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano on the weekend of Feb. 9-10.
The Copa del Rey final will be held on May 25 at a yet-to-be determined stadium, the federation said.
Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2018