Sevilla would like to see the Spanish king in Basel
We were in the Andalusian capital on Tuesday for the latest in AS's series of panel discussions on the sporting world, this time held to coincide with the tenth anniversary of Sevilla's first European success: their 2006 UEFA Cup victory over Middlesbrough. That night, one could have been forgiven for assuming it to be an isolated triumph: the result of certain people getting certain things right, combined with that always-helpful dose of luck. But a decade on, Sevilla are still there. They've lifted the trophy (which goes by a new name but remains the same one) on three more occasions, are preparing for their third straight final and, while they're at it, have made it through to the same stage in the Copa del Rey.
We were told as kids that the hardest part isn't making it; rather, as life goes on to teach us, it's staying there once you do. Therein lies the achievement of Sevilla, who've kept themselves up there for ten years. On Tuesday, club president José Castro, sporting director Monchi and keeper Sergio Rico faced fans' questions. LaLiga chief Javier Tebas came in for criticism, of course. There was curiosity as to summer ins and outs, too. Now's not the time to get into that, said Monchi. But there doubtless will be: Sevilla have got where they are by buying well and selling even better. That's how they've kept going as they have: it's thanks to their healthy ratio of successful signings, among which Monchi highlighted Dani Alves.
There was also a complaint: King Felipe of Spain is not due to travel to Basel, just as he was not in Warsaw last year when Sevilla won the Europa League for a fourth (and second consecutive) time. Castro is put out and wasn't hiding it, pointing out that the nation's monarch has just been to two Champions League semis involving the capital clubs. At the Bernabéu, he even made his way to the dressing rooms to celebrate Real making the final. Castro suggested that, despite being a side who have always proudly represented Spain, Sevilla perhaps do not get the recognition they merit within the country. I'd say it's an oversight that can still be remedied. It'd be a good idea if His Royal Highness had another look at his diary...
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