El Centrocampista

Jefferson Montero finally starts to light up La Liga


After his all action Man of the Match performance against Real Madrid on Saturday night, what better time to take a closer look at Real Betis’ exciting winger, Jefferson Montero.

Actually, Montero belongs to Villarreal and is currently only on loan at the Benito Villamarin, however he has already made a greater impact in Seville than he did in the nine games he managed for el submarino’s first team before moving south in the summer. At just 22-years-old Montero has a very promising career ahead of him and, after showing glimpses of undoubted talent at the start of the season, he is now beginning to show real quality, with his best performance to date for Real Betis against the mighty Madrid at the weekend.

Montero was born in agricultural city of Babahoya, Ecuador and started playing professional football for local side Emelec in 2007 – the year he also gained his first cap for the Ecuadorian national team. In 2008 he was loaned out to Mexican outfit Dorados de Sinaloa, where he made five appearances. He soon attracted the attention of the Villarreal scouting team who promptly snapped him up on a free-transfer in April 2009, on a five-year contract.

He made 32 appearances for Villarreal B before he was promoted to the senior side in 2010. After failing to nail down a place however, he went out on loan to Levante for four months until the end of the 2010/2011 season. Villarreal were still not in requirement of his services so he was sent out on loan again at the start of the current season to newly-promoted Real Betis where he currently resides.

Jefferson is an out and out winger: very skilful and in possession of great pace, although he can make for frustrating viewing sometimes. One moment he makes a mesmerising run to beat four players, the next he fires a shot into row Z from 40 yards. Not too dissimilar in the way Nani and Theo Walcott can so often frustrate the faithful at Old Trafford and the Emirates respectively. His inconsistencies probably explain why he has been in and out of the first team as Pepe Mel struggles to find a regular wide-man to feed the likes of Ruben Castro, Jorge Molina and Roque Santa Cruz.

However, many believe Montero could now be in the midst of turning a corner and could be about to fulfil the significant potential he undoubtedly has.  His latest display against Mourinho’s Madrid was mightily impressive and mature – capped off with his first goal for the club with a technically superb strike from the edge of the area. He could also have added to his tally had it not been for the heroics of Iker Casillas and the controversial save from Sergio Ramos in stoppage time.

Montero is still young but is showing all the signs that he could become a class act. He needs nurturing and  Pepe Mel could just be the right man to do this. He has shown faith and perseverance and as Montero has commented himself, has given the player confidence. There has been a vast improvement in Montero’s performances in recent weeks and the Ecuadorian could not hide his delight when thrashing the equaliser in on Saturday night – although most Béticos were probably too busy celebrating to notice. Ironically, this may not be the best thing for Real Betis as the better he plays the more expensive he gets and the more likely he is to return to Villarreal at the end of the season.

Jefferson Montero is certainly going to be one to watch in the future and most Real Betis fans  hope they can keep the winger at the Benito Villamarin beyond the end of this season.

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