El Centrocampista



With Betis going into the weekend’s game on the back of two good wins, with their defence looking sturdy and striker Ruben Castro in fine form,  it’s probably fair to say Pepe Mel expected more than a point against Getafe – a side struggling to get a team together and without a win in three games.

Betis were the superior team – they had better players on the pitch and looked more dangerous in possession, however Getafe were tight-knitted at the back and didn’t give too much away in terms of chances. In the end it was a lack of finesse in the final third that proved costly for Betis  and, apart from Molina’s crisp strike early in the second half, they could not find a way through the stubborn Madrid defence.

After the game Mel remained focused on his sole task for this year, keeping Betis in la primera. Although Betis are nearer to Europe than relegation it doesn’t mean too much because of the closeness of fourth place to 18th.

Contract news

In an interview on Friday Ruben Castro declared his love for Real Betis Balompie stating that if they wanted him he would stay for another 10 years. He also said that Mel is “a very special person for me…he’s the coach I have most to thank for.” Bonds like this show mutual respect and promote team spirit and with a year left on Castro’s contract, it would be mad not to offer him a renewal.

It remains to be seen whether the Betis captain, Iriney, will add many more games to the 100 he has compiled for the Andalucians. It is clear that Betis want to keep hold of the Brazilian but his contract expires on 30 June and with talks somewhat at a standstill it is doubtful he will be at Betis next season. Pay is the problem and with Betis in quite a tight financial position it could prove the stumbling block.

Everyone at Betis has been massively impressed with the January loan acquisition of Paulao. The no-nonsense defender has already cemented his place in the starting eleven. Betis have an option to buy and, finances permitting, it is fully expected that the loan will be made permanent.

In an interview with Estadio Deportivo on Monday the sporting director, Vlada Stosic, stated that the club has not planned the renewal of any contracts yet and will do so in the near future. I suggest that they get a move on because they could end up losing a couple of players that Betis could do with keeping hold of in order to build a solid primera team around.

Stosic also explained that the club plans on introducing more Betis B players in to the first team squad over the coming seasons. He said that in ‘three or four years’ Betis B will be the base of the first team. I say if they are good enough then why not? It will save splashing out on signings and it will give a greater sense of team belonging to the youngsters who have played with each other for a couple of years already.

Barcelona have managed great feats with a largely home-grown team. Unlike the individuals of Real Madrid, Barcelona have always been a team and further more the players are good friends, making their bond a special one.

On a lower scale Betis may be trying to replicate this. It will be on a smaller scale obviously and it could be argued that a generation similar to the one Barcelona nurtured in the 2000’s will ever be seen again, even at the Catalan giants.

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