Monday, September 12, 2016

Real Betis Greatest All-Time Team

Copa Del Rey 1977
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

Real Betis won the league title in 1935 and the Copa del Rey in 1977 and 2005. Given the club's tumultuous history and many relegations, its motto is Viva el Betis manque pierda! ("Long live Betis even when they lose!").

Copa Del Rey 2005
GK: Jose Ramon Esnaola (Spain)
He joined Real Sociedad in 1965, helping the club to return to the First division. In 1973, he joined Real Betis.  He won the Copa Del Rey by stopping three penalties and scoring one himself in the penalty shootout in the Final.

GK: Antonio Prats (Spain)
In a career mainly spent with Betis, he appeared in 338 La Liga games over the course of 12 seasons (467 in 17 both major levels combined), winning one Copa del Rey with his main club. In 1999–2000, he scored against Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid through free kicks, in respectively a 2–1 win and 1–2 loss.

GK: Pedro Jaro (Spain)
Jaro played four years with Real Madrid, where he could only appear in 23 league games combined, barred by legendary Francisco Buyo. In the 1994–95 campaign Jaro helped Real Betis overachieve for a final third place in the top division, immediately after having promoted: he played in all 38 matches and only conceded 25 goals, good enough for the Ricardo Zamora Trophy.

RB/RM: Fernando Varela (Spain)
Over the course of 11 seasons he amassed La Liga totals of 257 games and 13 goals, in representation of Betis and Mallorca. He won one Copa del Rey with the former club. He also played in Turkey.

RB: Francisco Bizcocho (Spain)
Bizcocho played his entire career with local Real Betis, nine of his 11 professional seasons being spent in La Liga. In 1976–77, Bizcocho played 27 games as Betis finished fifth, and scored the decisive penalty in the final of the Copa del Rey, an 8–7 shootout defeat of Athletic Bilbao.

CB: Juanito (Spain)
Juanito made his debut for Betis' main squad in the 2001–02 campaign, and immediately established himself as a regular starter, often scoring from deadball situations. Juanito represented Spain at UEFA Euro 2004 and 2008 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup, scoring with his head in the 1–0 triumph over Saudi Arabia. That goal was the first ever scored by a Betis player in the competition.
CB: Serafín Aedo (Spain)
In 1931 he moved to Baracaldo CF, and then in 1933 to Real Betis where he teamed up for the first time with fellow Basque Pedro Areso. The pair made a formidable defense, helping Betis win La Liga in the 1934-35 season.  He went to play in Mexico during the Spanish Civil War.  Aedo earned 4 caps for the Spanish national side in 1935 and 1936. From 1937 to 1939 he was part of the Basque Country national team which toured Europe and the Americas

CB: Antonio Biosca (Spain)
Biosca made his senior debuts in 1970–71 in Segunda División, for CD Calvo Sotelo in a relegation-ending season. In the following summer, he moved to Real Betis, winning the 1977 edition of the Copa del Rey.  He was capped 3 times and went to the WC Finals in Argentina.

CB: Juan Merino (Spain)
During his 17-year professional career he played solely in Andalusia, with Betis and Recreativo, appearing in more than 200 matches in both the first and second divisions of Spanish football.

LB:  Rafael Gordillo
Rafael Gordillo played at the same time as Camacho for both club and country.  Both players started on the left side.  He was known as the greatest left wingback in Spanish history.  He was a legend at both Real Betis and Real Madrid. He was voted the Best Player in Spain for 1979-1980 season.  He was with the great Real Madrid side of the 1980's.
Rafael Gordillo
LB: Robert Jarni 
He was a member of Yugoslavia's Golden Generation of the 1990's.  He went to the WC Finals in 1990 with Yugoslavia and later, represented Croatia at the WC Finals in 1998, where they reached the semifinal.  Professionally, Jarni started his professional career with Hajduk Split in 1986. He had also played in big clubs such as Juventus and Real Madrid. His longest stint outside of Croatia was with Real Betis.

CM/DM: Marcos Assunção (Brazil)
Assunção began his career at Rio Branco Esporte Clube. He then played for Santos FC and moving to Clube de Regatas do Flamengo in 1998. He was bought by Serie A's A.S. Roma for 1999–2000. Assunção joined Spanish side Real Betis in August 2002. The Andalusian team finished fourth at the end of the 2004–05 campaign, subsequently qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.  Capped 11 times for Brazil.

RW: Joaquin (Spain)
During his career he was mainly associated with Betis and Valencia, appearing in 425 La Liga games over the course of 13 seasons and scoring 53 goals. In the competition he also represented Málaga, signing with Fiorentina from Italy in 2013.  Capped 51 times.  He was a key player at WC in 2002.  He also went to Euro 2004 and the WC Finals in 2006.
RW: Finidi George (Nigeria)
He was a member of Ajax that won the 1995 Champions' League and considered one of the greatest club sides in history.  He was a key member of Nigeria's Golden Generation in the 1990's. 

LW: Denílson  (Brazil)
In a 16-year professional career he played mainly with São Paulo and Real Betis – being the world's most expensive player when he signed for the latter in 1998 – but also appeared for teams in five other countries. Denílson gained more than 60 caps for Brazil, representing the nation in six international tournaments, including two World Cups (winning the 2002 edition).
FW/CM/DM: Luis del Sol (Spain)
He was part of Real Betis that promoted to Segunda División (1954) and La Liga (1958).  He joined Real Madrid in 1960.  He netted a career-best 17 goals in his first full season, while not missing one single minute of action in his 29 appearances as his team won the national championship. In the 1962 summer,del Sol moved abroad and signed for Juventus FC. He remained one full decade in Italy, also playing two years with A.S. Roma, which he would captain.  Capped 16 times.  Del Sol represented the country at the 1962 and 1966 World Cups and was also part of the championship-winning squad at the 1964 European Nations' Cup.
Luis del Sol
AM: Julio Cardeñosa  (Spain)
Cardeñosa started his career with Real Valladolid.  He arrived at Real Betis from local Real Valladolid in 1974, and remained there until his retirement in 1985. For the national team, he earned 8 caps for Spain and played in the 1978 WC Finals in Argentina. He also went to the European Championship in 1980.

AM: Capi (Spain)
Apart from a loan spell at Granada CF in the third division, Capi spent the vast majority of his career at Real Betis.  Capi went to play over 250 league games for Betis, always as an important part of the squad between 1997 and 2010. However, He gained four caps for the Spanish national team all in 2002.

AM: Gabriel Calderón (Argentina)
Calderón played in several teams including Argentine Racing Club de Avellaneda and Club Atlético Independiente, Spanish Real Betis and French Paris Saint-Germain. He was part of the Argentina Under-20 team that won the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship, and also played in the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain and in the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. 

ST: Ricardo Oliveira (Brazil)
He represented São Paulo and Santos in two different spells, but also played in Spain for Valencia, Real Betis and Real Zaragoza amassing La Liga totals of 120 games and 58 goals for three teams.
A Brazilian international in the 2000s, Oliveira helped the national team win one Copa América and one Confederations Cup.
Ricardo Oliveira
AM: Simon Lecue (Spain)
In 1932 Lecue joined Real Betis, contributing with ten goals in 21 games as the Andalusians won their first and only top division championship in the 1934–35 season. Subsequently, Lecue moved to Real Madrid, where he continued to feature regularly, scoring a career-best 12 goals in his second year. After four seasons at Valencia CF, where he won his second league, in 1944. He earned 4 caps and went to the 1934 WC Finals.

ST: Alfonso (Spain)
A product of Real Madrid, he also played for Real Betis and Barcelona. He ppeared in 38 times for Spain, The most important of his 11 goals was scored against Yugoslavia in UEFA Euro 2000: the team was losing 3–2 in injury time, needing a win to qualify from the group at Norway's expense. In the 90th minute, a penalty was won and converted by Gaizka Mendieta, and with seconds remaining Alfonso volleyed a spectacular shot past Ivica Kralj for his second of the game and the win.
ST: Hipólito Rincón (Spain)
A product of Real Madrid, Rincón played briefly before he joined Real Betis for the 1981–82 season, netting 20 league goals in his second year which earned him the Pichichi Trophy. He went on to score nearly 100 times with the club.  He earned 22 caps and went to Mexico 1986.

ST: Manuel Domínguez Sánchez (Spain)
He is a star in the 1950's.  He is currently the second leading scorer of Real Betis with which he scored 94 goals in the league championship.  He also played with Xerez and Recreativo de Huelva.

ST: Fernando Ansola (Spain)
He played for several teams throughout his career: Real Oviedo , Real Betis , Valencia CF and Real Sociedad.  He was at one point the all-time leading scorer for Real Betis. Capped 5 times.  He went to the WC 1966 in England.
Fernando Ansola

Honorable Mention
Antonio Benítez, Quino, Edu, Pierluigi Cherubino, Rogelio, Ruben Castro, Eusebio Rios, Juan Manuel Cobo, Juan Urena, Hristo Vidakovic, Pedro Areso.

Squad Explanation
-- Jose Ramon Esnaola contributed the victory of Copa Del Rey in 1973 in a dramatic fashion.  Of course, he had done more than for Real Betis.
-- Rafael Gordillo was inwoon for his career with Real Madrid, play g along side Camacho on the left side. He is actually often considered as one of Real Betis' greatest player.
-- Luis del Sol was an important when the club was in the lower division.  He helped the club to grain promotion.
-- Joaquin was considered the Golden Boy of Real Betis.  He never lived up to the tag after leaving the club. 
-- Denilson was often labelled as a bust after his world record transfer.  His price tag did not justify his performance.  However, he was not a bad player, but he just got caught up with that label. He was one of the few Real Betis player who won the World Cup while registering to the club.
-- Robert Jarni's longest club stint outside of Croatia was with Real Betis.
-- Ricardo Oliveira was underrated.  His international career was limited by the fact that he was playing the same time as many talented Brazilian forwards.
-- Real Betis won the league in 1934-35.  That team is under represented in this all-time team.  Only two players are on this team.  I am still researching on Pedro Areso to see if he should belong here.  At this moment, he is on my honourable mention.  I am very opened to take him.


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