It’s September, and that means – yes! – the new football season is under way. The “beautiful game” is Spain’s most popular sport and arouses fierce passions, especially during major international competitions like this year’s European Championship.
Seville has two professional teams, Sevilla Football Club and Real Betis Balompie, both currently playing in the Spanish first division, La Liga, and of course there is an intense local rivalry between the two. Betis has always been known as “the people’s team”, whereas Sevilla FC has the prestige and the money. On derby days you can’t be both Sevilla and Betis.
Sevilla FC is generally regarded as the bigger of the two clubs. It was founded in 1905, and first joined La Liga in 1934. Trophies include one league championship, five Copa del Reys (the Spanish cup), and two UEFA Cups. Their home ground is the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, in Nervión. Get there on buses 5, 32 and C1/C2, or the metro. Tickets to home games are available online from the club’s website.
The underdogs are Real Betis Balompie (their motto is “viva el Betis manquepierda” – long live Betis, even in defeat), who play at the Estadio Benito Villamarín on Avenida de la Palmera in the south of the city. Founded two years after Sevilla FC, they were the first team from Andalucía to play in La Liga, winning the championship in 1935, as well as two Copa del Reys, most recently in 2005. Tickets to home games are available online from the Betis website. Buses 1, 34 and 37 run close to the stadium.
League games are normally played on a Sunday afternoon, and European fixtures on midweek evenings.
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