Busy Betis preparing for La Liga

Eduardo Macià’s office has been a busy place since he took over in May. Since the season end it seems like Betis have been linked to a new player every day.

Sporting Director Macià and Pepe Mel are working hard to ensure that Betis have a squad that can first of all survive their first season back in La Liga, and secondly move forward in future years to compete at a higher level.

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VdV has talked about the ‘marvellous’ project on-going at Betis

The signing of Rafael Van der Vaart is an indication of this, although it still hasn’t been made official. However it is now being widely noted that Van der Vaart will arrive in Seville on Sunday night, finalise the details and hopefully sign on the dotted line tomorrow for Betis! He will no doubt give the club a boost, provide lots of experience for the younger players and increase bargaining powers with other agents and potential players too.

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Jony on the radar

A player Betis would very much like to sign is Jony Rodríguez of Sporting Gijón. The 23 year old fits the winger bill that Betis need to fill. Exciting going forward but also capable of helping out in defence. It will be a tricky signing because Sporting have also just been promoted from Segunda to La Liga, so they will not be wanting to let go of one of their star players. It will take a few million to prise him away from the north of Spain.

Los Verdiblancos have been linked with Fiorentina (where Macià used to be Sporting Director) midfielder, David Pizarro, who is currently playing in the Copa America in Chile. However, a move for the brother of Claudio, has been ruled out by Betis secretary Alexis Trujillo. The centre of midfield is a fairly full at the minute with N’Diaye, Ceballos, Xavi Torres, Lorenzo Reyes and as of tomorrow, Van der Vaart.

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Nono is on his way out of Betis

The three players who went on loan in the winter – Nono, Sergio Rodríguez and Chuli – will find it difficult to stake a place in the squad next season. Macià is set to have a meeting with each player in the near future to tell them if there future lies at Betis or not. Chuli is the only one I think who has half a chance of being kept on after scoring 11 goals in 21 games whilst on loan at Leganés.

As for Nono, who never really impressed me, he went on loan to second division German club Sandhausen and failed to make a single appearance. Unfortunately the future for him doesn’t look too bright.

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Chuli talks post match

The video above is hat-trick man Chuli talking about the game post match. I’m thankful for the transcription because he talks about as fast as he runs, rápidamente!

General feelings

He said that he was very happy with the confidence the manager showed in him in that he gave him the full 90 minutes. He said he found [the game] very good and that he is getting better every time he plays with the team, which was demonstrated on the pitch. He said he wants to work the maximum minutes. His job is what he did today, score goals and help the team as much as he can.

Position on the pitch

He said that out wide he is further away from the goal, but the boss knows what he’s doing and what he wants from me. In the two positions [out wide and centre forward] I feel comfortable. I’ve got the two goals playing as a forward but it’s true that [Huddersfield] were more tired.

Clearly, he’s very modest as well.

For those who don’t know much about Chuli, he is a 22 year old from Huelva in Andalucía. He started off his professional career at Espanyol B before moving back to his home club Recreativo de Huelva – who at 123 years old, are the oldest club in Spain. He spent two seasons at Recre, first of all appearing for the B side before moving up to the senior side. He scored 37 goals in 70 games whilst at Recre. Betis then snapped him up for around €600,000 in May 2013. He has been given the number 9 shirt and he looks like a younger Rubén Castro, in looks and the way he plays. I think he will be able to come on leaps and bounds at Betis under the tutelage of Pepe Mel and Castro; I wait in joyful hope.

Huddersfield Town 2 – 4 Real Betis: Debut hat-trick for Chuli

Betis kicked off their English pre-season campaign with a bangon Wednesday night thanks to a mightily impressive display from new centre-forward Chuli, who grabbed himself a hat-trick.

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Betis bus outside the John Smith Stadium in Huddersfield

It was a fine evening in Huddersfield which was accompanied with a ‘room for improvement’ performance, particularly in the defensive department. Unfortunately (particularly for me), Rubén Castro, who was supposed to start, pulled out of the squad altogether which I can only assume is down to the injury that ruled him out of the last couple of games. Correct decision; there is no need to be rushed back.

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Betis enjoy their first game on English soil

The first half 11 lined up as so: Anderson in goal; Steinhofer (debutee), Perquis, Paulao, Nacho in defence; Carlos García, Nosa, Verdu and Nono in midfield; Chuli (debutee) and Molina up front. It was by no means a conventional 4-4-2 with Nono playing from wide left and Verdu through the middle.

It didn’t start to brightly with Huddersfield having the better of the play and James Vaughan put them ahead after 11 minutes with a back post header. It could have got a touch unsavoury in the 17th minute when Nono and Clayton squared up after a tough 50/50. Nono did thrust his head at Clayton and probab

ly would have seen red if it had been a competitive match, but his handbags got him a yellow card instead. The play settled and Betis got their passing game going. Patience finally paid off when Verdú nodded home Steinhofer’s cross for his first goal in verdiblanco colores. Two minutes later Betis were in the lead when Chuli finished off a Paulao flick on at the back post with a good finish into the roof of the net.

Pepe Mel made 9 changes at half time: Guille Sara came on in goal for his debut; Chica, Jordi Figueras (debutee), Caro and Alex Martínez in defence; Matilla, Nono (DMF) and Salva Sevilla (AMF) in midfield; then Chuli stayed central, Juanfran on the right, Sergio Rodríguez on the left.

Within the first 6 minutes of the second half Betis were 4-1 up thanks to the unstoppable combination of Juanfran and Chuli. You could see Pepe Mel getting frustrated at the lack of fast ball from the goalkeeper and defence as he gesticulated and shouted towards new goalkeeper Sara. From a set piece Sara gathered and distributed accurately and rapidly to Juanfran on the

right wing who whipped in a cross which was finished by Chuli. Chuli’s hat-trick goal was much of the same. Lots of promise with that combination indeed. Huddersfield grabbed a goal back in the 52nd minute with Paterson looping one over Sara’s head but a comeback was never on the cards.

Nothing much more happened after that and the game petered out with Betis keeping possession in the centre of the park. It was a good run out for Betis who did look sharp at times and a bit rusty in others. Verdu looked tidy and direct in the first half. Nono looked tidy with the ball but he never looked too threatening in making a breakthrough. Jorge Molina looked a little tired and couldn’t get his rhythm during his first half.

No doubt the stars of the show were Juanfran and the taker home of the match ball, Chuli.

I also must mention the Béticos who made the journey over from Seville. The match day announcer told that 40 made the trip, which allowed me to try out some very rusty Spanish. Plus I could see around 10-20 non-Spanish Béticos. Huddersfield staff were very pleasant and helpful and the fans were also very friendly.

Mucho Betis, mucho Betis eh eh!

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Pepe Mel stalking the touchline in the second half