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The lowdown on Europe’s major leagues ahead of the new season

August marks the return of LaLiga, the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1.

Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris St Germain are among the teams preparing for title defences ahead of the return of club football in Europe’s major leagues.

Here, Press Association Sport picks out some of the key information from the forthcoming seasons in Spain, Germany, Italy and France.

LaLiga

When does it start?

LaLiga kicks off on Friday, August 17 with Girona hosting Real Valladolid and Levante travelling to Real Betis.

Major signings

Thomas Lemar’s move from Monaco to Atletico Madrid for a reported £52milllion is the most expensive summer transfer in Spain so far, while champions Barcelona have spent a combined total of more than £110m to sign Bordeaux’s Malcom, Arturo Vidal from Bayern Munich, French defender Clement Lenglet from Sevilla and Gremio’s Brazilian midfielder Arthur. Real Madrid, preparing for life after Cristiano Ronaldo, have brought in Alvaro Odriozola from Real Sociedad  (£27m) and Brazilian Vinicius Junior from Flamengo (£40m).

Big matches in the opening weeks of the season

Valencia v Atletico Madrid (August 20), Sevilla v Villarreal (August 26), Real Betis v Sevilla (September 2), Athletic Bilbao v Real Madrid (September 14-17), Real Sociedad v Barcelona (September 14-17).

Where to watch in UK

Eleven Sports, owned by Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani, will begin an exclusive three-year deal to broadcast LaLiga. At least one match a week will be free-to-air and shown on the broadcaster’s Facebook page, including Valencia’s clash with Atletico Madrid.

Bundesliga

When does it start?

Champions Bayern Munich get the season under way when they host Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena on Friday, August 24.

Major signings

Borussia Dortmund have been the biggest summer spenders in Germany, with the £25million paid to Mainz for French centre-back Abdou Diallo, the £18m transfer of midfielder Thomas Delaney from Werder Bremen and Axel Witsel’s arrival from China accounting for most of their outlay. Bayern have been quiet in the transfer market, but have snapped up Leon Goretzka on a free transfer from Schalke and Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies for £9m. Bayer Leverkusen paid £16.65m to Vasco da Gama for 18-year-old Brazilian Paulinho, while RB Leipzig spent a combined £38m on Nordi Mukiele, Matheus Cunha and Marcelo Saracchi.

Big matches in the opening weeks of the season

Bayern Muich v Hoffenheim (August 24), Borussia Dortmund v RB Leipzig (August 26), Bayern Munich v Bayer Leverkusen (September 15), Hoffenhiem v Borussia Dortmund (September 22), Schalke v Bayern Munich (September 22).

Where to watch in UK

Up to five Bundesliga matches a week will be shown live on BT Sport during the 2018/19 season.

Serie A

When does it start?

Champions Juventus travel to Chievo on Saturday, August 18 for the first game of the new campaign, with Lazio hosting 2017/18 runners-up Napoli later that day.

Major signings

Cristiano Ronaldo cost Juventus around £105million from Real Madrid, and the champions also splashed cash to bring back Leonardo Bonucci from AC Milan (£31m), and sign Valencia defender Joao Cancelo (£36m) and Bayern Munich winger Douglas Costa (£35m). Milan have taken Gonzalo Higuain (loan) and Mattia Caldara (£31m) from Juve. Roma sold Radja Nainggolan to Inter Milan (£34m) and bought Javier Pastore from Paris St German (£22m), while Napoli paid Real Betis £27m for Spanish midfielder for Fabian Ruiz.

Big matches in the opening weeks of the season

Lazio v Napoli (August 18), Juventus v Lazio (August 25), Napoli v AC Milan (August 25), AC Milan v Roma (August 31), Napoli v Fiorentina (September 16).

Where to watch in UK

Like LaLiga, Italian matches will be broadcast by Eleven Sports, with at least one fixture per week being shown for free on Facebook. Juve’s trip to Chievo, which could be Ronaldo’s Serie A debut, will be one of the free-to-air games.

Ligue 1

When does it start?

Marseille host the opening game of the new campaign when they play Toulouse on Friday, August 10 at Stade Velodrome.

Major signings

Monaco, who have sold around £275million worth of talent, signed Russian playmaker Aleksandr Golovin from CSKA Moscow for a reported £27million and also paid Lyon more than £17million for 16-year-old forward Willem Geubbels. Champions Paris St Germain completed the signing of former Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon from Juventus on a free transfer, while Marseille spent around £17million to prise Croatia defender Duje Caleta-Car from RB Salzburg.

Big matches in the opening weeks of the season

Bordeaux v Monaco (August 26), Marseille v Rennes (August 26), Lyon v Nice (August 31), Rennes v Bordeaux (September 2), Monaco v Marseille (September 2).

Where to watch in UK

BT Sport have held the rights for French football during recent seasons but it remains unclear if matches will be broadcast live in the UK for the 2018/19 campaign.

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