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WHERE ARE THEY FROM?
Betis (together with Sevilla) are one of two Liga teams from the fourth biggest city in Spain, Seville, where they share one the most heated rivalries in world football. The magnificent city is the capital of the most southernmost province on the European mainland, Andalusia. It is home to the world famous Alcázar palace, and very much typifies the ‘real’ Spain of flamenco, bullfighting and very hot temperatures.
Founded in 1907, ‘Betis’ was the name of the former Roman province, while ‘Balompié’ is a literal translation of the English term ‘football’. In opposition to Sevilla FC, a highly exclusive middle class institution, Betis was open to members of all statuses and origin. As poor Andalusians migrated around Spain looking for work in the 20th century, they took their love for Betis with them, and the club’s green and white emblems are still commonplace in working class neighbourhoods all around the country today.
Those colours are historically connected to Celtic, after striped fabric was brought back by a player who had been studying in Scotland – but Betis decided upon stripes rather than hoops.
Betis have spent most of their time in the first division, and when they have been relegated (most recently in 2014) they have usually been quick to bounce back up. They did win La Liga once, way back in 1935 under Irishman Patrick O’Connell, who also coached Barça. Although they will typically finish in the top half of the table, they’ve only made it into the Champions League once. They’ve also won the cup twice, in 1977 and 2005.
The recently expanded 60,720 capacity Estadio Benito Villamarín is now the fourth biggest stadium in Spain. It was originally opened in 1929 as the Estadio Heliópolis (named after the neighbourhood) but now bears the name of the man who was club president from 1955 to 1965.
HEAD TO HEAD
Barça have only lost to Betis once in their last 17 league meetings, a shock 4-3 win for the Andalusians at Camp Nou last season. The last two visits to the Villamarín have been big wins for Barça, 4-1 last season and 5-0 the year before that.
Betis struggled early on and were in the relegation zone after ten games. The results have picked up a bit since then, and albeit without doing anything too spectacular, they have managed to climb up to twelfth, but went out of the cup to second division Rayo Vallecano.
MOST CAPPED INTERNATIONALS
Andrés Guardado (Mexico, 162), William Carvalho (Portugal, 59), Joaquín (Spain, 51), Aïssa Mandi (Algeria, 51), Nabil Fekir (France, 23), Zouhair Feddal (Morocco, 14), Marc Bartra (Spain, 14), Guido Rodríguez (Argentina, 9)
La Masia graduate, striker Carles Aleñá (pictured above) has been at Barça all his life and part of the first team since 2018. But in December of last year he went on loan to Betis until the end of the season.
Centre back Marc Bartra was a product of la Masia who spent six years in the first team wihtout ever quite becoming a regular. He left for Borussia Dortmund in 2016 and joined Betis in 2018.
Striker Cristian Tello was at Barça from 2010 to 2014, usually only playing when one of the famous 'trident' was unavailable. Following loan spells at Porto and Fiorentina, he joined Betis in 2017.
Left sided Alex Moreno spent one season with the Barça U19 squad in 2011-12.
TOP SCORERS 2019/20
Loren (10), Joaquín (9)
Catalonia native Joan Francesc Ferrer, better known as Rubi, never played football at the highest level but gradually earned a reputation as a fine coach with various clubs, and in 2013 was part of Tito Vilanova’s staff at FC Barcelona. He left the Camp Nou to take the top spot at Real Valladolid, and was also at Levante, Sporting Gijón, Huesca and Espanyol before becoming Betis coach at the start of this season.
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