Interview

Rakitić’s derby to savour

Ivan Rakitić looks back on a Sevilla derby unlike any other, when the city’s major rivals met in Europe for the first time

INTERVIEW Grahan Hunter

In Issue 6 of Champions Journal Ivan Rakitić, explains just what his adopted city of Seville means to him. The Croatian returned to Sevilla last summer after six seasons at Barcelona and here he discusses the passion of the city’s supporters and one memorable night against crosstown rivals Real Betis when the two clubs met in the round of 16 of the 2013/14 Europa League. Sevilla advanced on penalties thanks to Rakitić’s winning spot-kick then went on to lift the trophy. Rakitić takes up the tale…

‘You knew it would go down in history’

“Everyone who knows the city of Seville knows the importance of the derby. And it’s not about winning or losing: it’s about the emotion the match conveys. I learned that as soon as I arrived here, when I was told: ‘Ivan, the most important match is not against Barça, Madrid or any other team. It’s against Betis.’ It wasn’t necessary for them to explain it because you could already feel it in the city, three or four weeks before the match.

“People in the supermarket would talk to you about the game; you would go to the petrol station and people would talk to you about the game. They’re always asking. But always in good spirits, in a good way – at least, that’s always been my experience. That’s why I say I’ve always had a good relationship with Betis supporters, who I respect a lot. Actually, I have a lot of friends who are Betis supporters.

Ivan Rakitić celebrates Sevilla’s 2014 Europa League win with the fans (top);
Sevilla fans back home following the 2014 triumph (above)

“But that 2014 tie, in addition to being the first, and possibly last, European derby, it was amazing in the days beforehand. I actually remember very clearly that we were going through a good patch. Betis were not doing quite as well in the Liga. The matchday arrived and they won 2-0 at our stadium, but we were very confident we could turn things around.

“So there we went, and I will always remember, of course, José Antonio Reyes and his very important goal. And this is a story that only the city of Seville and Sevilla FC can tell. We won 2-0 at their stadium, it went to the penalty shoot-out, and it was obvious for me that I was going to take responsibility for scoring the last penalty. And then that moment did come…and that emotion. You felt like you wanted to climb into the stands, mingle with the crowd, with everyone who was there that day, and shout with them, yell. You knew it would go down in history. 

“A European derby… it might not happen again, right? Derbies in the Liga: you know you’ll have two per year. That’s something different, but a European derby is a story which will be remembered forever, a unique story. Besides, with a goal by José Antonio… If we could make a film or a documentary out of that story, I think a lot of people would watch it, because it’s amazing and the whole of Sevilla FC deserves it. 

José Antonio Reyes celebrates scoring against Betis


‘The most beautiful thing in the world’

“Every one of those days was amazing. Taking the cup [after winning the 2014 Europa League final] and, as captain, lifting it while you see the fans, your family, your friends. Then arriving in Seville, madness everywhere in the city. Having to take the helicopter in the airport with the president in order to land in the middle of the pitch – I don’t know if anyone else has done that.

“Seeing all the people in the stadium was a moment in my career I want to repeat again and again, and again. You see that and you know everything was worth it, all the efforts and all those days in the season when everything was difficult. Seeing how much joy you can provide to your people, your fans, your family… It’s so beautiful. Those are actually moments which will last a lifetime and I wish I could tell the story again, every day if necessary, because it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”

In Issue 6 of Champions Journal Ivan Rakitić, explains just what his adopted city of Seville means to him. The Croatian returned to Sevilla last summer after six seasons at Barcelona and here he discusses the passion of the city’s supporters and one memorable night against crosstown rivals Real Betis when the two clubs met in the round of 16 of the 2013/14 Europa League. Sevilla advanced on penalties thanks to Rakitić’s winning spot-kick then went on to lift the trophy. Rakitić takes up the tale…

‘You knew it would go down in history’

“Everyone who knows the city of Seville knows the importance of the derby. And it’s not about winning or losing: it’s about the emotion the match conveys. I learned that as soon as I arrived here, when I was told: ‘Ivan, the most important match is not against Barça, Madrid or any other team. It’s against Betis.’ It wasn’t necessary for them to explain it because you could already feel it in the city, three or four weeks before the match.

“People in the supermarket would talk to you about the game; you would go to the petrol station and people would talk to you about the game. They’re always asking. But always in good spirits, in a good way – at least, that’s always been my experience. That’s why I say I’ve always had a good relationship with Betis supporters, who I respect a lot. Actually, I have a lot of friends who are Betis supporters.

Ivan Rakitić celebrates Sevilla’s 2014 Europa League win with the fans (top);
Sevilla fans back home following the 2014 triumph (above)

“But that 2014 tie, in addition to being the first, and possibly last, European derby, it was amazing in the days beforehand. I actually remember very clearly that we were going through a good patch. Betis were not doing quite as well in the Liga. The matchday arrived and they won 2-0 at our stadium, but we were very confident we could turn things around.

“So there we went, and I will always remember, of course, José Antonio Reyes and his very important goal. And this is a story that only the city of Seville and Sevilla FC can tell. We won 2-0 at their stadium, it went to the penalty shoot-out, and it was obvious for me that I was going to take responsibility for scoring the last penalty. And then that moment did come…and that emotion. You felt like you wanted to climb into the stands, mingle with the crowd, with everyone who was there that day, and shout with them, yell. You knew it would go down in history. 

“A European derby… it might not happen again, right? Derbies in the Liga: you know you’ll have two per year. That’s something different, but a European derby is a story which will be remembered forever, a unique story. Besides, with a goal by José Antonio… If we could make a film or a documentary out of that story, I think a lot of people would watch it, because it’s amazing and the whole of Sevilla FC deserves it. 

José Antonio Reyes celebrates scoring against Betis


‘The most beautiful thing in the world’

“Every one of those days was amazing. Taking the cup [after winning the 2014 Europa League final] and, as captain, lifting it while you see the fans, your family, your friends. Then arriving in Seville, madness everywhere in the city. Having to take the helicopter in the airport with the president in order to land in the middle of the pitch – I don’t know if anyone else has done that.

“Seeing all the people in the stadium was a moment in my career I want to repeat again and again, and again. You see that and you know everything was worth it, all the efforts and all those days in the season when everything was difficult. Seeing how much joy you can provide to your people, your fans, your family… It’s so beautiful. Those are actually moments which will last a lifetime and I wish I could tell the story again, every day if necessary, because it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

In Issue 6 of Champions Journal Ivan Rakitić, explains just what his adopted city of Seville means to him. The Croatian returned to Sevilla last summer after six seasons at Barcelona and here he discusses the passion of the city’s supporters and one memorable night against crosstown rivals Real Betis when the two clubs met in the round of 16 of the 2013/14 Europa League. Sevilla advanced on penalties thanks to Rakitić’s winning spot-kick then went on to lift the trophy. Rakitić takes up the tale…

‘You knew it would go down in history’

“Everyone who knows the city of Seville knows the importance of the derby. And it’s not about winning or losing: it’s about the emotion the match conveys. I learned that as soon as I arrived here, when I was told: ‘Ivan, the most important match is not against Barça, Madrid or any other team. It’s against Betis.’ It wasn’t necessary for them to explain it because you could already feel it in the city, three or four weeks before the match.

“People in the supermarket would talk to you about the game; you would go to the petrol station and people would talk to you about the game. They’re always asking. But always in good spirits, in a good way – at least, that’s always been my experience. That’s why I say I’ve always had a good relationship with Betis supporters, who I respect a lot. Actually, I have a lot of friends who are Betis supporters.

Ivan Rakitić celebrates Sevilla’s 2014 Europa League win with the fans (top);
Sevilla fans back home following the 2014 triumph (above)

“But that 2014 tie, in addition to being the first, and possibly last, European derby, it was amazing in the days beforehand. I actually remember very clearly that we were going through a good patch. Betis were not doing quite as well in the Liga. The matchday arrived and they won 2-0 at our stadium, but we were very confident we could turn things around.

“So there we went, and I will always remember, of course, José Antonio Reyes and his very important goal. And this is a story that only the city of Seville and Sevilla FC can tell. We won 2-0 at their stadium, it went to the penalty shoot-out, and it was obvious for me that I was going to take responsibility for scoring the last penalty. And then that moment did come…and that emotion. You felt like you wanted to climb into the stands, mingle with the crowd, with everyone who was there that day, and shout with them, yell. You knew it would go down in history. 

“A European derby… it might not happen again, right? Derbies in the Liga: you know you’ll have two per year. That’s something different, but a European derby is a story which will be remembered forever, a unique story. Besides, with a goal by José Antonio… If we could make a film or a documentary out of that story, I think a lot of people would watch it, because it’s amazing and the whole of Sevilla FC deserves it. 

José Antonio Reyes celebrates scoring against Betis


‘The most beautiful thing in the world’

“Every one of those days was amazing. Taking the cup [after winning the 2014 Europa League final] and, as captain, lifting it while you see the fans, your family, your friends. Then arriving in Seville, madness everywhere in the city. Having to take the helicopter in the airport with the president in order to land in the middle of the pitch – I don’t know if anyone else has done that.

“Seeing all the people in the stadium was a moment in my career I want to repeat again and again, and again. You see that and you know everything was worth it, all the efforts and all those days in the season when everything was difficult. Seeing how much joy you can provide to your people, your fans, your family… It’s so beautiful. Those are actually moments which will last a lifetime and I wish I could tell the story again, every day if necessary, because it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”

Rakitić’s derby to savour
Interview

Rakitić’s derby to savour

Ivan Rakitić looks back on a Sevilla derby unlike any other, when the city’s major rivals met in Europe for the first time

INTERVIEW Grahan Hunter

In Issue 6 of Champions Journal Ivan Rakitić, explains just what his adopted city of Seville means to him. The Croatian returned to Sevilla last summer after six seasons at Barcelona and here he discusses the passion of the city’s supporters and one memorable night against crosstown rivals Real Betis when the two clubs met in the round of 16 of the 2013/14 Europa League. Sevilla advanced on penalties thanks to Rakitić’s winning spot-kick then went on to lift the trophy. Rakitić takes up the tale…

‘You knew it would go down in history’

“Everyone who knows the city of Seville knows the importance of the derby. And it’s not about winning or losing: it’s about the emotion the match conveys. I learned that as soon as I arrived here, when I was told: ‘Ivan, the most important match is not against Barça, Madrid or any other team. It’s against Betis.’ It wasn’t necessary for them to explain it because you could already feel it in the city, three or four weeks before the match.

“People in the supermarket would talk to you about the game; you would go to the petrol station and people would talk to you about the game. They’re always asking. But always in good spirits, in a good way – at least, that’s always been my experience. That’s why I say I’ve always had a good relationship with Betis supporters, who I respect a lot. Actually, I have a lot of friends who are Betis supporters.

Ivan Rakitić celebrates Sevilla’s 2014 Europa League win with the fans (top);
Sevilla fans back home following the 2014 triumph (above)

“But that 2014 tie, in addition to being the first, and possibly last, European derby, it was amazing in the days beforehand. I actually remember very clearly that we were going through a good patch. Betis were not doing quite as well in the Liga. The matchday arrived and they won 2-0 at our stadium, but we were very confident we could turn things around.

“So there we went, and I will always remember, of course, José Antonio Reyes and his very important goal. And this is a story that only the city of Seville and Sevilla FC can tell. We won 2-0 at their stadium, it went to the penalty shoot-out, and it was obvious for me that I was going to take responsibility for scoring the last penalty. And then that moment did come…and that emotion. You felt like you wanted to climb into the stands, mingle with the crowd, with everyone who was there that day, and shout with them, yell. You knew it would go down in history. 

“A European derby… it might not happen again, right? Derbies in the Liga: you know you’ll have two per year. That’s something different, but a European derby is a story which will be remembered forever, a unique story. Besides, with a goal by José Antonio… If we could make a film or a documentary out of that story, I think a lot of people would watch it, because it’s amazing and the whole of Sevilla FC deserves it. 

José Antonio Reyes celebrates scoring against Betis


‘The most beautiful thing in the world’

“Every one of those days was amazing. Taking the cup [after winning the 2014 Europa League final] and, as captain, lifting it while you see the fans, your family, your friends. Then arriving in Seville, madness everywhere in the city. Having to take the helicopter in the airport with the president in order to land in the middle of the pitch – I don’t know if anyone else has done that.

“Seeing all the people in the stadium was a moment in my career I want to repeat again and again, and again. You see that and you know everything was worth it, all the efforts and all those days in the season when everything was difficult. Seeing how much joy you can provide to your people, your fans, your family… It’s so beautiful. Those are actually moments which will last a lifetime and I wish I could tell the story again, every day if necessary, because it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

In Issue 6 of Champions Journal Ivan Rakitić, explains just what his adopted city of Seville means to him. The Croatian returned to Sevilla last summer after six seasons at Barcelona and here he discusses the passion of the city’s supporters and one memorable night against crosstown rivals Real Betis when the two clubs met in the round of 16 of the 2013/14 Europa League. Sevilla advanced on penalties thanks to Rakitić’s winning spot-kick then went on to lift the trophy. Rakitić takes up the tale…

‘You knew it would go down in history’

“Everyone who knows the city of Seville knows the importance of the derby. And it’s not about winning or losing: it’s about the emotion the match conveys. I learned that as soon as I arrived here, when I was told: ‘Ivan, the most important match is not against Barça, Madrid or any other team. It’s against Betis.’ It wasn’t necessary for them to explain it because you could already feel it in the city, three or four weeks before the match.

“People in the supermarket would talk to you about the game; you would go to the petrol station and people would talk to you about the game. They’re always asking. But always in good spirits, in a good way – at least, that’s always been my experience. That’s why I say I’ve always had a good relationship with Betis supporters, who I respect a lot. Actually, I have a lot of friends who are Betis supporters.

Ivan Rakitić celebrates Sevilla’s 2014 Europa League win with the fans (top);
Sevilla fans back home following the 2014 triumph (above)

“But that 2014 tie, in addition to being the first, and possibly last, European derby, it was amazing in the days beforehand. I actually remember very clearly that we were going through a good patch. Betis were not doing quite as well in the Liga. The matchday arrived and they won 2-0 at our stadium, but we were very confident we could turn things around.

“So there we went, and I will always remember, of course, José Antonio Reyes and his very important goal. And this is a story that only the city of Seville and Sevilla FC can tell. We won 2-0 at their stadium, it went to the penalty shoot-out, and it was obvious for me that I was going to take responsibility for scoring the last penalty. And then that moment did come…and that emotion. You felt like you wanted to climb into the stands, mingle with the crowd, with everyone who was there that day, and shout with them, yell. You knew it would go down in history. 

“A European derby… it might not happen again, right? Derbies in the Liga: you know you’ll have two per year. That’s something different, but a European derby is a story which will be remembered forever, a unique story. Besides, with a goal by José Antonio… If we could make a film or a documentary out of that story, I think a lot of people would watch it, because it’s amazing and the whole of Sevilla FC deserves it. 

José Antonio Reyes celebrates scoring against Betis


‘The most beautiful thing in the world’

“Every one of those days was amazing. Taking the cup [after winning the 2014 Europa League final] and, as captain, lifting it while you see the fans, your family, your friends. Then arriving in Seville, madness everywhere in the city. Having to take the helicopter in the airport with the president in order to land in the middle of the pitch – I don’t know if anyone else has done that.

“Seeing all the people in the stadium was a moment in my career I want to repeat again and again, and again. You see that and you know everything was worth it, all the efforts and all those days in the season when everything was difficult. Seeing how much joy you can provide to your people, your fans, your family… It’s so beautiful. Those are actually moments which will last a lifetime and I wish I could tell the story again, every day if necessary, because it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

In Issue 6 of Champions Journal Ivan Rakitić, explains just what his adopted city of Seville means to him. The Croatian returned to Sevilla last summer after six seasons at Barcelona and here he discusses the passion of the city’s supporters and one memorable night against crosstown rivals Real Betis when the two clubs met in the round of 16 of the 2013/14 Europa League. Sevilla advanced on penalties thanks to Rakitić’s winning spot-kick then went on to lift the trophy. Rakitić takes up the tale…

‘You knew it would go down in history’

“Everyone who knows the city of Seville knows the importance of the derby. And it’s not about winning or losing: it’s about the emotion the match conveys. I learned that as soon as I arrived here, when I was told: ‘Ivan, the most important match is not against Barça, Madrid or any other team. It’s against Betis.’ It wasn’t necessary for them to explain it because you could already feel it in the city, three or four weeks before the match.

“People in the supermarket would talk to you about the game; you would go to the petrol station and people would talk to you about the game. They’re always asking. But always in good spirits, in a good way – at least, that’s always been my experience. That’s why I say I’ve always had a good relationship with Betis supporters, who I respect a lot. Actually, I have a lot of friends who are Betis supporters.

Ivan Rakitić celebrates Sevilla’s 2014 Europa League win with the fans (top);
Sevilla fans back home following the 2014 triumph (above)

“But that 2014 tie, in addition to being the first, and possibly last, European derby, it was amazing in the days beforehand. I actually remember very clearly that we were going through a good patch. Betis were not doing quite as well in the Liga. The matchday arrived and they won 2-0 at our stadium, but we were very confident we could turn things around.

“So there we went, and I will always remember, of course, José Antonio Reyes and his very important goal. And this is a story that only the city of Seville and Sevilla FC can tell. We won 2-0 at their stadium, it went to the penalty shoot-out, and it was obvious for me that I was going to take responsibility for scoring the last penalty. And then that moment did come…and that emotion. You felt like you wanted to climb into the stands, mingle with the crowd, with everyone who was there that day, and shout with them, yell. You knew it would go down in history. 

“A European derby… it might not happen again, right? Derbies in the Liga: you know you’ll have two per year. That’s something different, but a European derby is a story which will be remembered forever, a unique story. Besides, with a goal by José Antonio… If we could make a film or a documentary out of that story, I think a lot of people would watch it, because it’s amazing and the whole of Sevilla FC deserves it. 

José Antonio Reyes celebrates scoring against Betis


‘The most beautiful thing in the world’

“Every one of those days was amazing. Taking the cup [after winning the 2014 Europa League final] and, as captain, lifting it while you see the fans, your family, your friends. Then arriving in Seville, madness everywhere in the city. Having to take the helicopter in the airport with the president in order to land in the middle of the pitch – I don’t know if anyone else has done that.

“Seeing all the people in the stadium was a moment in my career I want to repeat again and again, and again. You see that and you know everything was worth it, all the efforts and all those days in the season when everything was difficult. Seeing how much joy you can provide to your people, your fans, your family… It’s so beautiful. Those are actually moments which will last a lifetime and I wish I could tell the story again, every day if necessary, because it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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