Today’s final game brings with it a number of farewells (some certain, others more hypothetical). Entangled within these farewells are various sub-plots as the 2015/16 la liga season draws to a close.
Of the certain farewells, we say adios to Jorge Molina after six years at Betis. The big man up top has been a loyal servant for los verdiblancos playing 217 times and scoring 77 goals. He’s helped Betis to achieve two promotions to la liga, the first time being in his first season where he was the top goalscorer with 18 goals. The following season he made his primera division debut at the tender age of 29! His time at Betis has come to a natural end, having only scored one goal this season, but fans won’t forget the good times.
In moments he can be frustrating but then he can be brilliant, especially with his back to goal linking play and wreaking havoc with his best pal Rubén Castro. What’s more, and matters much more to béticos, is that he plays with the heart and it is this that makes him a club legend.
With Molina’s departure, this may be the beginning of a changing face at Betis. Out with the old, in with the new. None more new than head coach Gus Poyet who I hope will bid farewell to the uninspiring football style we’ve witnessed this season. Like Molina’s style, we want a team who plays with heart, letting every team they play know that they’ve been in a tough game.
I’m hoping Poyet can bring with him his passion and footballing knowledge. Undoubtedly, he was a brilliant midfielder for Chelsea and played with his heart on his sleeve, which is similar to his management style from my exposure to him at Sunderland. He likes his teams to get forward and attack, sometimes leaving the defence wanting slightly. There are definitely elements of the current Betis team he can work with and there is a semi-solid backbone but there is a lot of work to do. One of his first jobs will be to find a new forward with Jorge’s departure, Van Wolfswinkel’s ineptitude, Leandro Damiao (!!!) and Rubén’s age creeping higher and higher.
But for today, we have to enjoy this final game and celebrate the fact that we will be playing in the top Spanish league next year. To make the game more interesting there are a couple of sub-plots to watch out for.
Sub-plot number 1:
Getafe have their fate in their own hands. Win and they guarantee their place in la liga next year having got a better head to head than Sporting Gijón who they are level on points with. Sporting have got to get a result at home to Villarreal. So have Rayo Vallecano who have got the easiest game on paper as they are at home to the already relegated Levante. The Madrileno club sit one point behind Getafe and Sporting so could leapfrog them if they pick up three points and the other two fail to win. All three games kick off at 18:30 GMT today.
Sub-plot nunber 2:
With Aduriz scoring twice for Atletic yesterday in their defeat of Sevilla, Rubén Castro will have to score a hat-trick to become the outright top Spanish goalscorer in la liga. It may be unlikely, but not impossible. Then would Del Bosque select him??
Today will be the last time we see Jorge Molina and Rubén Castro play together. They epitomise the little and large forward combination, which is a dying breed. It’s been a pleasure to watch Don Molina play for six years. Adios caballero.