Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi will lead Barcelona in the absence of Andres Iniesta against Real Betis Getty

Barcelona begin their defence of the La Liga title against Real Betis at the Camp Nou on Saturday (20 August).

Where to watch live

Kick-off is set for 5.15pm BST. The game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 3 HD.


Barcelona welcome Real Betis to the Camp Nou for the opening game of the 2016/17 La Liga campaign as they aim for their third consecutive title. The Catalan giants have had an advantage albeit a small one over Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the last two seasons, and Luis Enrique is keen that his team begin with a clean slate and look to emulate previous years' success.

The La Liga giants have strengthened in the off season, but it has been mainly in the defensive areas with Samuel Umiti and Lucas Digne joining from Lyon and PSG respectively. Apart from the duo, they have also signed Andre Gomez from Valencia and Denis Suarez from Villarreal.

Andreas Iniesta will not be available for the start of the season owing to a knee injury, with Denis Suarez expected to take his place. Neymar is also absent owing to his commitments with Brazil at this summer's Olympic games. The host nation are preparing to take on Germany in the finals as they search for their first gold in the football event. Claudio Bravo, meanwhile, could be playing his last game for Barcelona with the 'keeper being linked with a move to Manchester City to replace Joe Hart.

Barcelona, who played just three pre-season matches of which they won two and lost one - a 4-0 loss to Liverpool, have already won their first trophy of the season after they beat Sevilla in the Spanish Super Cup earlier in the week.

Real Betis, on the other hand, will be looking to better their tenth place they achieved last season as Gus Poyet begins his first full season as the club's manager after being appointed late last season after they parted ways with Pepe Mel. They have also made additions during pre-season with Antonio Sanabria arriving from AS Roma to bolster their attack, while Felipe Gutierrez and Jonas Martin have arrived from FC Twente and Montpellier respectively to bolster their midfield.

What managers say

Luis Enrique: " We've lifted the league trophy in the past two years and being champions gives us the conviction that doing things in the same way means we can be in a position to fight for La Liga, What differentiates this team is the ability to reinvent itself and being competitive in each training session. The titles of the past have given us joy, but this club lives in the present and there are still trophies to be won [this season] - the motivation is maintained by the players."

Gus Poyet: "We're going to try to find the formula to stop Barcelona from being Barcelona, to do what most teams cannot. Everybody wants to find the magic formula to beat Barcelona in their own ground, but it's not easy."

Betting odds (betfair)

  • Barcelona win: 1/10
  • Draw: 12
  • Real Betis win: 33

Team news

Barcelona possible XI: Bravo; Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Digne; Busquets, Rakitic, Denis; Messi, Suarez, Arda.

Real Betis possible XI: Adan; Piccini, Mandi, Pezzella, Vargas; Petros, Gutierrez; Nahuel, Ceballos, Musonda; Castro.