Sevilla FC are the champions of the Europa League for an incredible sixth time, thanks to their 3-2 victory over Inter Milan in the final in Cologne, Germany, on Friday night. Already the Spanish team had won this tournament more times than any other club and now they’ve extended that record.
The Andalusian club previously won this competition in 2005/06 and 2006/07 when the tournament was called the UEFA Cup and in 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 after it became the Europa League. Sporting director Monchi has been there for each of these successes and explained just how much this tournament means to Sevilla FC after Friday’s victory. “I hope the fans enjoy this because the trophy is back where it should be, at its home,” he said. “Nobody wants to win it like we do,” the director added.
New players and a new coach
Monchi’s recruitment was key to this latest victory, as demonstrated by the fact that nine members of Sevilla’s starting line-up against Inter Milan had been signed across the previous two transfer windows. Only captain Jesús Navas and veteran Éver Banega started on Friday night after also having been at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán in 2018/19.
Organising Monchi’s new signings on the pitch was coach Julen Lopetegui, who also joined just last summer. The former Spain and Real Madrid coach has installed his possession-first philosophy at Sevilla FC in addition to creating a hungry and determined team. “The club hymn says that we must never give up and that’s what happened,” Lopetegui told the media after Friday’s victory.
A difficult final
Some teams would have felt like giving up in the final, considering that Sevilla FC found themselves down to a Romelu Lukaku penalty just five minutes into the game. But, they always believed and centre-forward Luuk de Jong netted two first-half goals to put the Spanish side in front, after De Jong had also netted the winner against Manchester United in the semi-final.
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A goal from former Villarreal CF and Atlético Madrid centre-back Diego Godín made it 2-2 at half time, but Sevilla FC went on to edge this five-goal thriller in the second half thanks to a goal from one of their own centre-backs. Diego Carlos leapt through the Cologne air to fire an overhead kick into the net in the 74th minute, with the help of a deflection. Carlos and co. then shut out the Inter Milan attack during the final few minutes to ensure Sevilla FC finished the night as champions once again.
After progressing from their group containing Qarabağ, APOEL and Dudelange and after conquering CFR Cluj, AS Roma, Wolves and Manchester United in the knockouts, Sevilla FC then overcame Inter Milan to write a new chapter into the club’s history books. Not even two of the richest clubs in England and Italy could stop the LaLiga club.
Another Spanish success in Europe
Sevilla’s 2019/20 Europa League victory is just the latest instance of LaLiga success on the continent. In the 21st century, a Spanish side has won the Champions League nine times out of a possible 19 and a Spanish side has won the UEFA Cup or Europa League 10 times out of a possible 19. That means that exactly half of this century’s European finals have been won by a Spanish team. If we count just the last 15 seasons, LaLiga clubs have won almost two from every three UEFA titles.
LaLiga teams have been especially ruthless in these finals indeed. Of the 15 finals held between a Spanish side and a non-Spanish side in the Champions League or the UEFA Cup / Europa League since 2001, the LaLiga team has won every single time.
Now, Sevilla FC will be targeting further silverware when they take part in the 2020 UEFA Super Cup against Bayern Munchen, the winner of this season’s Champions League. That match will take place on September 24 in Budapest, Hungary. It’s just the next chapter on the incredible Sevilla FC history, the club that “learned how to win”, as they wanted to say: they were still playing in the second division in 2001, and since then they have won 10 titles – national and international – becoming nowadays the eighth club with the best club UEFA coefficient and the 32nd most valuable brand in football worldwide. And even more important, becoming one of the best cases of success in football during the 21st century.