BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Barcelona and Real Madrid have again been the biggest spenders this offseason in the Spanish league, while defending champion Atletico Madrid has also had to rebuild.
Beyond the top three clubs, however, there was little action among the other 17 teams, many of which continue to rely on short-term contracts and loan deals to patch up holes in their squads.
Here are the top 10 signings in the Spanish league before the start of the 2014-15 season:
1. LUIS SUAREZ-Barcelona- Barcelona was undeterred by Luis Suarez’s infamous bite of an Italian opponent at the World Cup that further tarnished his reputation and will keep him sidelined until October. The Catalan club paid Liverpool €81 million ($108 million) for the Premier League’s leading scorer last season. The 27-year-old Uruguay forward signed for five years.
2. JAMES RODRIGUEZ-Real Madrid- The midfielder was the revelation of this summer’s World Cup in Brazil. His tournament-leading six goals for Colombia earned him the Golden Boot trophy and the attention of Real Madrid. The European Cup winners paid Monaco €80 million ($108 million) for the 23-year-old, who signed for six seasons.
3. ANTOINE GRIEZMANN-Atletico Madrid- Atletico Madrid made several signings this season but the biggest investment was in 23-year-old France winger Antoine Griezmann. Atletico spent €30 million ($40 million) for the explosive forward who scored 19 goals for Real Sociedad last campaign.
4. TONI KROOS-Real Madrid- Midfielder Toni Kroos helped guide Germany through its brilliant World Cup campaign to be crowned the best team on the globe. He then packed his bags for Real Madrid after it lured him away from Bayern Munich with a six-year contract and paid his €25-million ($33 million) transfer fee.
5. MARIO MANDZUKIC-Atletico Madrid- Needing to replace its leading scorer after Diego Costa’s exit, Atletico Madrid has entrusted its attack to Mario Mandzukic as it seeks to defend its La Liga title. The Croatia striker moved from Bayern Munich on a €22-million euro ($29.4-million) transfer.
6. IVAN RAKITIC-Barcelona- Ivan Rakitic will have big boots to fill at Barcelona, where he arrived following the departure of Cesc Fabregas and will play alongside Spanish internationals Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Sergio Busquets. The Croatia midfielder helped Sevilla win the Europa League last season as its team captain. Barcelona paid €21 million ($28 million) for his passing skills.
7. JAN OBLAK-Atletico Madrid- Thibaut Courtois was key to Atletico Madrid’s title march last campaign. With the goalkeeper gone to Chelsea, the Spanish champions shelled out €16 million ($21.3 million) for Slovenian goalie Jan Oblak after his Benfica won the Portuguese league in 2013-14.
8. JEREMY MATHIEU-Barcelona- After years of relying on a thin defensive unit, Barcelona changed course and reinforced its squad by signing Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia for €20 million ($27 million) and Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal for €19 million ($25.4 million) more. Given Vermaelen’s history of injuries, Mathieu is set to be Gerard Pique’s partner.
9. MARC-ANDRE TER STEGEN-Barcelona- Victor Valdes protected Barcelona’s goal for the past decade when the club enjoyed its most successful era. Young German Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has taken his place after a €12-million ($16.3-million) deal with Borussia Monchengladbach.
10. KEYLOR NAVAS-Real Madrid- Keylor Navas was the best goalkeeper in Spain last season. Then came his showing at the World Cup for Costa Rica. Now he will compete with Spain captain Iker Casillas for time in Real Madrid’s goal after his €10-million ($13.4-million) move from Levante.