MADRID - Jose Mourinho embarks on his new adventure as Real Madrid coach making his bow with a tricky trip to islanders Real Mallorca on Sunday as he begins his quest to bring the glory days back to Real.
Mourinho has been typically bullish in the press talking up his team's chances of silverware this season and hopes his team do their talking on the pitch as expectant Madrid fans yearn for a trophy after finishing the last two campaigns empty-handed.
Thursday's Champions League draw saw Real paired with AC Milan, Ajax and Auxerre in the group stage and Mourinho is expected to compete on all fronts.
"I have won 17 titles in 10 years and I am one of three coaches (along with Ernst Happel and Ottmar Hitzfeld) to win the Champions League with two different teams, I hope to have more success at Real Madrid," declared Mourinho.
New signings Angel di Maria, Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Pedro Leon and Sergio Canales are all hoping to make their debuts while veteran defender Ricardo Carvalho is almost certain to make his bow as Real have a defensive crisis.
Centre-halves Pepe, Ezequiel Garay and Raul Albiol are all out injured so Spain World Cup winner Sergio Ramos could move into the centre alongside new summer signing Carvalho.
Mallorca have a new coach in former Real Madrid man Michael Laudrup and finished fifth last season largely on the back of a formidable home record at their Ono stadium.
Reigning champions Barcelona begin with a trip to Racing Santander on Sunday with Spain World Cup star David Villa poised to make his league debut following his 40 million euro move from Valencia.
Barcelona picked up their first trophy of the season by lifting the Spanish Super Cup with a 5-3 aggregate win over Sevilla and are targeting a third league crown.
Lionel Messi top-scored with 34 league goals last season and netted a hat-trick in the 4-0 second leg drubbing of Sevilla in the Super Cup to move onto 130 goals for Barcelona putting the 23-year-old level with club legends Samuel Eto'o and Rivaldo.
Liverpool's tough-tackling midfielder Javier Mascherano is due to arrive at Barca this weekend after a deal was concluded Friday.
Despite his arrival Barcelona have been quiet in the transfer market in comparison to Real and could even let record signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic leave for AC Milan if a deal can be struck.
Midfielder Sergi Busquets however believes the squad is deep enough.
"Real Madrid have signed more players but we probably have a more complete squad and settled team so don't need as much fine-tuning," explained Busquets.
Sevilla have had a torrid start to the season losing in the Super Cup and then missing out on millions by going down to Sporting Braga in their Champions League qualifier.
Coach Antonio Alvarez is under early pressure after that failure and could do with an opening win at promoted Levante on Saturday to keep the fans off his back.
"I am not the type to hide," vowed Alvarez.
"There are bad results and the best way to fix things is by getting good results starting with the first league game of the season."
Atletico Madrid are one side hopeful of a top four finish and the Europa League winners are in action on Monday at home to Sporting Gijon as they face Inter Milan on Friday in the European Super Cup.
"I think we are stronger than last season," said Portuguese midfielder Tiago.
"Big players have come in and the Champions League must be the minimum target as we have the quality."
Valencia, grouped with Manchester United in the group stage of the Champions League, open their season at Malaga on Saturday and it will be interesting to see how they cope with the departure of Villa to Barcelona and David Silva to Manchester City.