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Sources: Barca near agreement to sign De Ligt

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Barcelona vs. Betis, Real Madrid at Real Sociedad in 2016-17 openers

La Liga champions Barcelona will begin their defence of the trophy at home to Real Betis on the weekend of Aug. 20/21, with Real Madrid going to Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid hosting newly promoted Alaves in their opening games.

The fixtures for the 2016-17 campaign were drawn during a lengthy ceremony at the Spanish FA's Las Rozas headquarters on Friday morning, with the season's Barca versus Madrid Clasico meetings set for Dec. 3 or 4 at the Camp Nou and April 22 or 23 at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

The dates for this season's Spanish Supercopa between Barcelona and Sevilla were also set as Sunday, Aug. 14 at the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan and Wednesday, Aug. 18 at the Camp Nou, with Sevilla confirming quickly that a late request for an extra day to prepare for following their Aug. 9 UEFA Supercup game with Madrid in Trondheim had been accepted.

The 2016-17 season is scheduled to end on May 21, with Atletico hosting Athletic Bilbao in what could be their final ever game at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.

The 2017 Copa del Rey final has been provisionally set for the following weekend -- May 27 or 28.

Before then, Barca are at Athletic Bilbao on the second weekend and host Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou on Sept. 21/22, with a home game against newly promoted Alaves and trips to another new team, Leganes, and Sporting Gijon among the Blaugrana outfit's first six fixtures.

Celta Vigo and Osasuna visit the Bernabeu on weeks two and three, Madrid then visit Espanyol, host Villarreal and fly to Las Palmas to round out their first half dozen games.

Leganes' first ever Primera Division game will be at Celta Vigo, while neighbours Atletico Madrid visit the Estadio Butarque on Aug. 27 or 28. Atletico also play Celta, Deportivo La Coruna and Sporting Gijon early doors.

The 2016-17 Madrid derbis will be on Nov. 19/20 at the Calderon and April 8/9 at the Bernabeu.

The first Clasico of the season at the Camp Nou in early December comes a few weeks before Madrid travel to the World Club Cup in Japan. The return at the Bernabeu falls between the Champions League quarterfinals and semifinals.

The exact kickoff times and dates for the matches have not yet been set, and the Liga authorities have yet to confirm their agreement with Friday's draw.

Twelve months ago a row between the various institutions involved was only resolved when the Spanish government stepped in less than two weeks before the season began.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan

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