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CONFIRMADO: Atlético to begin LaLiga title defense at Celta Vigo

Simeone’s men will be raring to go in August, when the league title defense will get underway.

Atletico Madrid celebrate Spanish La Liga title Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Once the Copa America and Euro 2020 end next weekend, focus will shift fully to the domestic leagues. Back in Spain, Atlético Madrid will attempt to do something that hasn’t been done at the club in 70 years — win back-to-back league titles.

Said title defense will begin the weekend of Aug. 14, when Atlético open the 2021/22 Liga Santander season at Balaídos against Celta Vigo.

RC Celta v Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Atlético will meet city rivals Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu on Dec. 12, while the return derby is scheduled to take place at the Metropolitano on May 8. The first battle with Barcelona will be in Madrid on Oct. 3, while Atleti will visit Camp Nou on Feb. 6. The complexion of those two games with Barça will change immensely if free agent Lionel Messi ultimately decides not to renew his contract with the Catalan club.

Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Espanyol are the first newly-promoted side Atlético will face, with a game at bogey ground Cornellà slated for matchday four. The rojiblancos do not face Mallorca or Rayo Vallecano until December and January, respectively.

Even though they will kick off nearly a year from now, the final five games for Atlético next season look very tough, on paper. The reigning champions will go to San Mamés to face Athletic Club de Bilbao on matchday 34, followed by a Madrid Derby, a visit to Elche, a home game with potential title hopefuls Sevilla, and another trip to the Basque Country to play Real Sociedad on matchday 38.

Real Sociedad v Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

It’s hard to draw any conclusions at this stage, but it’s certainly possible that we’ll be in for another grandstand finish to the 2021/22 season — Barcelona will play Villarreal on the final day, while Real Madrid will host bogey team Real Betis and Sevilla take on Athletic.

You can view the full schedule on the club’s website.