Sevilla fan Rafael Azcarate Velasco has seen his side lift European silverware, but it is a Champions League win in Manchester that still sets the pulses racing
For me, a good Champions League story should start with the high point. In this case, a magical night at one of the football temples of Europe, Old Trafford. Manchester United are unquestionably one of the greatest names in European football, two-timers winners of the competition. A tough night was the assumption for Sevilla when we visited in the round of 16 in 2018. However, I still remember how on the morning of that match I felt so confident. I knew that if Sevilla could play at the top of their game, they could qualify. Manchester United had the look of a sleeping giant, napping between eras of dominance.
As the day went on, doubts did arise: “Can we really compete against a team who can pay more than 100 million euros for a single player?”
When the match began, my fears and doubts did not disappear, but I saw the possibility of Sevilla getting through and reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in the Champions League era. The game was even, and goalless at half-time. After the break, Sevilla were looking more comfortable and eventually found a way to damage their hosts with Wissam Ben Yedder, with two goals, proving the hero for the Andalusian side.
What a night! That is what the Champions League means to many: a day full of nerves just waiting for the game to arrive and though the final result does not always fall your way, the feeling of being there among the mighty clubs of the old continent has no price.
As a Sevilla fan who has laughed and cried and – above all – relished watching his team lift the Europa League trophy six times, I’d still say that the Champions League is something unique, something bigger, the authentic holy grail of football today. Which is why, for this Sevillista, that night at Old Trafford is undoubtedly one of my favourite memories.