And so, it begins again

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar July 27, 2018 16:30

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And so, it begins again

By Satish Sekar© Satish Sekar (July 26th 2018)

The Poor Relation Came of Age

With almost indecent haste the new football season is underway again. The most successful team in the history of the Europa League start their assault on a fourth title tonight at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, named after Sevilla’s former President whose dream to move the club to a bigger stadium was realised after his untimely death in 1956.

While being forced to exist in the shadow of Real Madrid and Barçelona, Sevilla have punched above their weight in Europe with 2 UEFA Cup and three Europa League triumphs Sevilla’s hat-trick of Europa League titles began before the incentives increased its appeal. It was rebranded in 2009 – the inaugural and current Europa League Champions Atlético de Madrid also won it in 2012, sharing the most prolific victor’s spoils with their Andalusian competitors. Spain always took it – the poor relation of European competition – seriously.

Since the UEFA Cup was rebranded, only three non-Spanish clubs have won it – Porto in 2011, Chelsea in 2013 and Manchester United in 2017.Arsenal’s new boss Unai Emery Etxegoien did well at Valencia, but made his name at Sevilla, winning the Europa League thrice in a row before departing for Paris Saint-Germain.

The competition was revamped less than a decade ago in a seemingly long forgotten era when English clubs viewed it as a distraction. In his second spell at Chelsea, José Mourinho said he had achieved one of his ambitions for the year before Christmas ‘to not qualify for the Europa League.’ As Manchester United manager Mourinho had a different view, needing to win the competition he disparaged to play in last year’s Champion’s League.

Even now, they only prioritise it when it seems the best bet – only hope – for Champion’s League Football. Despite a better record in European competition in recent times, Spanish clubs have always taken the Europa League seriously.
Sevilla began their quest for further European glory tonight …

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar July 27, 2018 16:30