Barcelona's Lionel Messi (L) passes the ball beside Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (Reuters)
Spanish soccer's 'El Clasico' encounters between Barcelona and Real Madrid will happen in December and April, two of the most anticipated games of the 2016-17 Primera Division season whose fixtures were announced on Friday.
Defending champions Barca host Real on Dec. 4 at the Camp Nou. The reverse fixture will take place on April 23, at the Bernabeu stadium, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed after the draw.
As the La Liga season kicks off, Barca will begin their title defence at home to Real Betis on Aug. 21.
Prior to that, the Catalan giants take on Sevilla in the two-legged final of the Spanish Super Cup. That trophy pits the league champions against the King's Cup winners, or in this case the runners-up, since Barca won that title, too.
The opening leg will be played on Aug. 14 at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium while the return match will happen three days later in Barcelona.
League runners-up Real Madrid kick off their campaign, in what will be Zinedine Zidane's first full season in charge, away to Real Sociedad.
Deportivo Alaves will mark their return to Spain's top flight after a 10-year absence with a clash against Atletico Madrid at the Calderon stadium.
Atletico visit Barcelona in round five, on Sept. 21, and Barca will travel to the Calderon stadium on Feb. 26.
The first Madrid derby will take place on Nov. 20 at Atletico while Real will host their city rivals on April 9.
CD Leganes , runners-up to Deportivo Alaves in the Segunda Division, will play their first ever La Liga game at Celta Vigo on Aug. 21 while Osasuna, the last team to be promoted, visit Malaga in the opening weekend.
The last round of La Liga games will be on May 21, 2016.
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