Sevilla FC: The Europa League love story
Sevilla's history with the Europa League dates back to the early 2000s, when they won the first of many finals of the renowned European competition, without even imagining that they would one day be the competition's record holder. However, the Andalusia club's history in LaLiga remains more restrained, with difficulties in extending that European supremacy to their domestic competitions. With that in mind, the question arises: what makes Sevilla thrive in the Europa League?
To answer that question, we have to go back to the 2005/2006 season, where they won the Europa League for the first time after beating Middlesbrough 4-0, with Juande Ramos at the helm. Notwithstanding, the Spanish club ended that season in 5th place in the Spanish League, thus demonstrating a first glance of their European dominance, but domestically still remaining in the shadows of giants Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
In the following season, history repeated itself, but this time stepping up on Spanish soil: they kept the coach, won their second consecutive Europa League, conquered the UEFA Super Cup and the Copa del Rey, but still fell behind their main competition and end the season in 3rd place in LaLiga.
Sevilla's success story in the Europa League had a hiatus of 6 seasons, perhaps dictated by the departure in the following season of Juande Ramos, the helmsman of the Spanish club's back-to-back European trophies. In that time, four coaches have passed through the club, who have left Sevilla's history in the Europa League finals unwritten, only making the playoffs in the 2011/2012 season. As for the Spanish league, Sevilla reached once again 3rd place in the 2009/2010 season, returning to mid-table in the 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 seasons by finishing only 9th in the standings.
Unai Emery arrives at Spanish club in the 2012/2013 season, unaware that he would make Sevilla a behemoth in European football. In 2013/2014, the dream came to life once again as the 'Palanganas' win the Europa League, while reaching 5th place in the LaLiga. The following season, the consistency was evident, with the club winning the Europa League again and finishing 5th in the Spanish league. In the 2015/2016 season, Sevilla continued to cement their position in the old continent and became Europa League champions for the third time in a row, and then becoming the only club to achieve this feat to date. In LaLiga, they only managed to finish in the 7th place that year.
In the 2019/2020 season, after several coaches coming to the Andalusian club, Julen Lopetegui joins them and makes history in the Europa League once again. The Spaniard led the club to the final of the competition, where they won the trophy after beating Inter Milan 3-2. In LaLiga, Sevilla managed to secure 4th place, only finishing behind Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid.
In the current 2022/2023 season, the team now led by José Luis Mendilibar, featuring names like Óliver Torres, Nemanja Gudelj and Marcos Acuña, finished 11th in the Spanish League but exceeded all expectations on European soil: Sevilla reached their seventh Europa League final. Like all the previous finals, this one was no different. This time with the Spanish side beating Roma, under "The Special One", José Mourinho, on penalties to win their seventh Europa League.
Sevilla have, therefore, guaranteed their access into the group stage of the next Champions League edition, a place that would only be occupied by the top four in LaLiga (Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico de Madrid and Real Sociedad), who will now be joined by the 11th-placed team in the Spanish top flight.
Today, Sevilla are by far the club with the most Europa League trophies and one thing is certain: no one doubts that the Spanish club's history with this European competition is written in the stars.
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