Real Betis are flying in La Liga thanks to Manuel Pellegrini and his team of changing talents

It’s not often that a die-hard fan base can’t enjoy a state of nirvana and schadenfreude At the same time, but this is the privileged position in which Real Betis supporters now find themselves.

Just in case these words are unfamiliar, nirvana is ‘the state or place of a poet’, while ‘nirvana is’schadenfreude“It is the German word for the malicious pleasure you feel for someone else’s misfortune. Reason.”Petcos“We feel such joy that their team is top of the LaLiga league, unbeaten, playing magically and full of competitive aggression just as their hated and extremely successful competitor in the city, Seville, stinks in 15th place. You have, there is an immediate test of what is sick. Los Rojiblancos And whether Betis will be able to continue sailing, when Sevilla host Barcelona this weekend, and Manuel Pellegrini’s green and white army, European champions Real Madrid and Spain face off at the Santiago Bernabeu.

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It’s only hypothetical, of course, but imagine the sweet feeling for the Betis Nation if a rookie Xavi wins at Sanchez Pizjuan on Saturday night, leaving Sevilla near the relegation zone, and if Betis will win at the newly renovated Bernabeu against as well. Madrid who is unbeaten? And before you begin, hold your horses: they are not who – which An unlikely scenario.

Did you know that Real Madrid did not win any of their last five home matches against Betis, and only scored Once In those 450 minutes, that Los Verdeblancos You got nine points out of the last 15 points available at the Bernabéu?

conclusion? Do not, under any circumstances, miss Saturday’s game.

Live stream: Real Madrid vs Real Betis, 9/3, 10AM ET, ESPN+
Live stream: Seville vs Barcelona, ​​9/3, 3pm ET, ESPN+

At the heart of what’s happening at this very passionate (but poorly accomplished) club is, of course, their coach. Tall and stern, permanently showing the world his poker face, Pellegrini – nicknamed “The Engineer” and who successfully spent five years at Villarreal from 2004 – is talented, likable and fun. And do not forget: he is not only the former Real Madrid coach, he is the man with whom he coached Karim Benzema’s first season Los Blancosthe sentence that ended with Pep Guardiola’s first sentence as the title-winning coach at the Camp Nou press conference: “I want to congratulate Manuel Pellegrini and his players at Real Madrid because I liked their attitude this season. Without them, I don’t. I don’t think we would have scored 99 points. Their rivalry has honored the Real Madrid Foundation. I want them to know that there are people at this club who admire what they tried to do. It was perfect.”

However, no one in Madrid agreed, and although the title battle was reduced to the final day of the season, Pellegrini was sacked one year after taking charge. He’s had other successes since then – with Malaga, Manchester City and West Ham among his former clubs in Europe – but this project at Betis may be his signature piece.

They won the King’s Cup last season, in a giant, tense and moody battle with Valencia Los VerdeblancosTheir city, Seville, had only the second cup (depending on which one you count the second division) in 45 years. Almost key is the fact that Betis is playing really well. really good. Convincing, fun, daring and offensive football: you could say it’s ‘perfect’ again.

Last Friday, they climbed to the top of the League with a victory over Osasuna. Two highlights were the world-class Borja Iglesias goal – I’d say there was no better goal anywhere in Europe this weekend – and the sheer frailty when Pellegrini’s side were reduced to 10 men because of Germany’s Pezzella red card. Instead of expressing any panic, the stadium erupted in a fierce display of an ear-shattering rant “We’ll see you through that boys!” Singing, cheering and dancing as they urged the outnumbered Pettis to defend the single goal margin.

It worked too, as they held out for the last 15 minutes and Take all three points.



Borja Iglesias gives Real Betis the lead.

In any sport, when you get the combination of talent, tactics, and determination by the athletes, as well as passionate evangelical faith and fun from the crowd, a certificate can enhance your life. For his part on everything, Pellegrini finds it easy to explain his formula.

“At Betis, I wanted to create a certain style of football, as I did at every club,” he said. “I like my team to play fast, direct football while maintaining possession. I want to see them move from our half of our field with as few touches as possible. Then, in the final third, it’s all about turning our chances. It takes a lot of work to get to the last third. Which you really need to take advantage of by putting the ball away.”

It’s commendable to aim for and hard to achieve, but really cool to watch.

One of his mercurial tricks is that you can pick six or seven of Pellegrini’s key footballers and not only conclude, without hesitation, that they are playing the best football of their career, but that they met that standard 67 years ago. An old Chilean took charge.

Nabil Fekir was one of those valuable players who mistakenly believed that talent and outrageous rudeness would be enough to make him special. Now the Frenchman is more agile, more powerful and much more effective. He’s also much richer due to him getting a succulent contract extension. Betis fans were walking for him on hot coals. For them, he is a god. There is your Pellegrini effect.

Striker Iglesias suddenly scores for fun again. He admitted after hitting Osasuna that I was “in the best shape of my career” and that the man known as “The Panda” now permanently wears that contagious smile on his face. At this point, it is not a disgrace to suggest that he has a chance to go to the 2022 World Cup with Spain later this year.

What about Alex Moreno, the flying wing back? Or Juanmi free-scoring? What about Guido Rodriguez, who arrived as a shy Argentine midfielder and couldn’t imagine that he might one day play alongside Lionel Messi for the national team, but is now a pivotal figure in the team. Albiceleste And the Copa America winner? All of these, and many others, are reaching new heights thanks to Pellegrini’s education.

As the “engineer” himself points out: “The team is made up of individual players and each of them has the maximum level he can aspire to. My job is to make sure that each player performs at full capacity in as many matches as possible. Like a team, there is no point if The four in the front play brilliantly if the four in the back are struggling.

“It is not only my love for football that drives me. It is a need for me to always be challenged. I have always been that way. Even as a child, I loved taking on new challenges, and I continued to do this in my career for example: when I left Madrid, the offers were pouring in. , many high-ranking clubs, but I chose Malaga because I was very impressed with the vision and ambition of the club and because I knew it was going to be a huge challenge. It was probably the best decision of my life.”

Now some facts about the team that will try to upset the European champions this weekend.

Their team is too weak in certain areas to win the title. Given the grueling domestic season and the Europa League campaign to be planned, it would be a great feat if they could finish in the top six, not to mention the top four and qualify for the Champions League. So, arguably, the key for us is to just sit back and enjoy watching them on the go well.

Try watching the midfielder, for example: it’s fun. William Carvalho is constantly talked about as a “big salary,” someone who “needs to unload” in order to “balance the books.” It is true that for a large part of the Portuguese green and white midfielder’s time he was overweight, very slow touch over short distances and prone to frequent annoying injuries due to his physical condition.

However, he is now a major reason why Pettis feels this sense of nirvana. He is lighter (he loses almost five or six kilograms), plays elegant, fun and decisive football. You can begin to understand who he considers to be your reference players.

Carvalho says he compares himself to “Yaya Toure and others like Patrick Vieira or Sergio Busquets or Andrea Pirlo. I also liked Zinedine Zidane, even though he wasn’t in the same position as me. I always try to simplify football: make difficult things easy. I’m like compass and decide “Now the team is heading to the right, to the left.” I set the rhythm of the match.”

Betis’ director of football, Antonio Cordon, recently confirmed that “the main task we had with William Carvalho was to ‘get him back’. It was a very important process for everyone, and we were finally able to see what he is capable of. A real asset.” As long as he is fit and selected to start, it will be interesting to watch this new version of Carvalho – he’s had two draws and a win in his last three away games in Madrid – against Los Blancos Now that Casemiro the Wise is gone, it seems Aurelien Chuamini is finding life in La Liga that easy.

Pellegrini explained of his giant midfield: “Having a team without William Carvalho is definitely worse than a team with William Carvalho, and I have no doubts about that. I have no interest in leaving William. I have a lot of things to attach to him, because I demand a lot from him and I don’t spare off work until he gives William what he can do.”

They set off for Real Betis, and set off on Saturday at the Bernabéu.


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