Key players, past and present, of 'El Gran Derbi'

·3-min read
Iconic Real Betis captain Joaquin (green jersey) against his Sevilla counterpart Jesus Navas. (PHOTO: LaLiga)
Iconic Real Betis captain Joaquin (green jersey) against his Sevilla counterpart Jesus Navas. (PHOTO: LaLiga)

The love for Seville's two major clubs, Sevilla and Real Betis, is remarkably strong among not only fans but players too. Here are some of the most iconic players the derby has seen over the years.

Joaquin (Real Betis, 2000-2006 and 2015-present)

There is nobody who represents Real Betis quite like Joaquín. Not only is he the current captain of the club, but he’s also a supporter and a shareholder at Real Betis. He has played some epic derby matches over the years, but his most special one might just be the first meeting of the 2018/19 season when he came off the bench to score the only goal of the game 10 minutes from time, provoking absolute delirium in the stands.

Jose Antonio Reyes (Sevilla, 2000-2004 and 2012-2016)

Reyes was to Sevilla fans what Joaquin is to the Betis faithful. He was one of their own, having come through the Sevilla academy and having gone on to star in some special derby moments. The winger, who died in a tragic road accident in June 2019, remains the leading scorer in 21st century derbies. He played in 17 city derbies for Sevilla throughout his career, notching eight wins, seven draws and just two defeats.

Beto (Sevilla, 2013-2016)

One of the Seville derbies in which Reyes scored was the 2013/14 Europa League last 16 meeting between these two foes. Real Betis had won the first leg 2-0 at Sevilla’s Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium before goals from Reyes and Carlos Bacca levelled the aggregate score and took the game to penalties. Step forward goalkeeper Beto to become a Seville derby legend. The Portuguese international saved two penalties in the shooutout as Sevilla went on to win that year’s Europa League. Of all their Europa League triumphs it might just have been the sweetest: they’d defeated their rivals along the way.

Dani Alves (Sevilla, 2002-2008)

Before joining Barcelona, Dani Alves took his first steps in Spanish football with Sevilla and became a fan favourite during his six seasons at the Sanchez-Pizjuan. His record in derbies was excellent, winning six, drawing four and losing only two. Despite playing at right-back, he even netted two goals in these fixtures, with both these strikes contributing to victories. 

Luis Aragones (Real Betis, 1961-1964)

Luis Aragones may be best known for his success at Atletico Madrid, but he also spent three fruitful years at Real Betis during which time he scored six derby goals against Sevilla. His most famous derby outing was a LaLiga meeting in the 1962/63 season when he scored both the goals in a 2-1 victory in front of the Green and Whites’ home fans. As a manager, he later went on to coach both clubs at different points of his career. 

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