Despite their loss to Barcelona in the Spanish Cup’s final (2-0 in overtime), Sevilla have shown this season they belong among the European elite after winning the UEFA Europa League title for the third year running.
2015/16 was another successful season for Sevilla, as the club made history by winning the UEFA Europa League for a third straight time, (2014, 2015, 2016) and fifth in the last ten years (2006, 2007).
Consequently, they secured their place in next year’s UEFA Champions League (despite finishing seventh in the league), while also tried to win the Copa Del Rey. However, they came up short in the end and lost to Barcelona in overtime (2-0), despite their decent performance for 90 minutes.
In the beginning of the season, nothing was showing the Spanish side would be able to go all the way to the end both in Spain and in Europe.
More specifically, top scorer Carlos Bacca went to Milan for 30 million euros and Aleix Vidal moved to Barcelona, as the team also had to face their bad form on the road in La Liga (nine draws, ten defeats) and Europe (one away win in seven European away games), respectively.
The squad, though, took advantage of their home court and reversed the situation, as they won 14 of their 19 home games in the league, all four matches in the cup, without conceding a goal, while also had five victories from seven European matches.
As a result, they claimed the Europa League title and came very close to win the Copa Del Rey, proving they are a top European club, as they have qualified for Europe in eleven of their last twelve seasons (since 2004), having nine appearances in the UEFA Cup and Europa League in the last 12 years.
That said, what is the main reason behind Sevilla’s tremendous run in Europe?
First of all, Unai Emery’s presence is of utmost importance, as the Basque coach (who became the first manager that won the Europa League three straight times) has created a very talented and deep squad, with players that can offer many solutions, both defensively and offensively.
Kevin Gameiro, Coke, Mariano and Ever Banega (among others) were the squad’s key players this season, doing their best to lead the club to the top of Europe once again, while Emery’s man-management skills have helped him make the players play for their coach as well.
Moreover, the 44-year-old coach got over the departures of important players (Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas, Bacca, Vidal and Ivan Rakitic, among others), retaining the side’s performance at high levels, which has been his biggest accomplishment in the club so far.
“The Champions League is nice, and we want to play in it, but you meet the very top teams in that competition and they overcome you. When you are in the Europa League, you know you can win it,’ said Emery.
In addition, Sevilla’s sporting director, Ramón Rodríguez Verdejo, commonly known as Monchi, is responsible for the club’s financial welfare that has made Emery’s job as head coach easier, with the two men having created a very productive relationship.
The 48-year-old Monchi was hired in 2001 and has spent almost 210 million euros in order to sign new players, however the transfer of Sevilla’s great players, like Dani Alves, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Ramos and more, has let him earn almost 400 million euros in the past ten years, with his methods having thrived in the transfer market.
Consequently, the club is currently facing no financial issues, while its value has been rapidly increased, thanks to the team’s great accomplishments.
More specifically, the Spanish squad has played in 14 Finals in the past decade, having won five Europa League titles (2006, 2007, 2014, 2015, 2016), two Spanish Cups (2007, 2010), one European Super Cup (2006) and one Spanish Super Cup (2007).
And that’s a remarkable achievement, if we take into account that the club had claimed only three Cups and one championship title, before the 1950s, while they will play in two more finals in August, namely the European Super Cup and the Spanish Super Cup, respectively.
In the end, the club now needs to make the step forward and try to go all the way to the end in the Champions League (although this certainly is a difficult mission), however the presence of Emery and Monchi ensures that Sevilla’s future will certainly continue to be bright.