Real Betis Balonpié´s growth since they went up to LaLiga back in the 2014/2015 season has been extraordinary. Year after year, the ‘Verdiblancos’ have managed to build a roster with very talented players. Moreover, the club from Heliópolis counts on one of the most prosper academies in Spain. This is a very ambitious project in the hands of the ‘engineer’ in order to return Betis to Europe. And now I ask myself: Who is the key piece of this Betis?
I have several aspects in mind: Joaquín represents the ‘Beticismo’; Fekir is the most valuable and media player (25M, according to Transfermarkt); and Claudio Bravo adds secureness to their goal. It is hard to choose just one between all of them. And I have not mentioned the ‘genius from Santander’ yet. Actually, if we treat this through an objetive point of view, Pellegrini´s Real Betis stands out as a whole unit, as a team. However, from my own view, the ball must always go to the ’10’ (depending on the carrier).
Sergio Canales added a quality plus since his arrival in 2018. As it that was not enough, he came as a free agent. He is the most complete player of the team: ball driving, dribbling, game vision, last pass… But, above all those abilities, the aspects I admire him the most for are his work ethic and commitment. Furthermore, Canales is having one of his best seasons statistically: 9 goals (seven in LaLiga and two in the Spanish Cup). This way, he is just a goal away from passing his record in a season, and he has only played 19 official games so far. Same exact thing at assisting, he already has four.
Unfortunately, injuries did not allow him to develop his full potential at a young age but, if we are selfish, might be one of the reasons why we are currently enjoying his best version. If I just stood out his work ethic and commitment as his best virtues, it is due to his past. He is 29 years old and has already overcome three cruciate ligament tears.
That boy that impressed the world eleven years ago at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium never gave up. A great example of overcoming. Hard work pays off and now he has found his place at the Benito Villamarín. Canales is showing such a high confidence on his game that is making him to be one of the best players in both in LaLiga and Spain.
Betis´chances to make it to Europe are mostly in his feet and the midfielder does not mind the pressure. His regularity is essential for the team´s outcomes. However, there are also other individual goals: he could be living the best season of his career. On the other hand, and more important, Canales is halfway to be called up for the Eurocup. Luis Enrique is saving a spot for him and, if there is not any setback, he will not miss the event. For the benefit of football, nothing should stop him.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.