Barça’s opponents on Saturday are Sevilla, who are one of Spain’s oldest clubs. After great success in recent years, this season has proved to be complicated and the team are struggling to get into the European places.
Founded in 1905, Sevilla won their only league title in 1945 and also ended as runners up four times in the 40s and 50s, but in many ways their golden age came in the first decade of this century, when they won two Spanish Cups, two UEFA Cups and a Spanish and European Super Cup. In the midst of that success though, the Club were stunned by the death of their defender Antonio Puerta during the first match of the 2007-8 season. Three days later they lost to Milan in the European Super Cup final and in October, coach Juande Ramos left to join Spurs. They reached the Champions League in 2009, despite losing Alves and Keita and the following year they were back in the trophies, taking the Spanish Cup by beating Atlético Madrid 2-0 in the final at the Camp Nou. After losing the Spanish Super Cup to Barça, the 2010-11 season was disappointing, with the team failing to get through the Champions League qualifying stages and finishing fifth in the league, four points behind Villarreal.
Sevilla are currently down in 11th place, on 33 points, five adrift of the European places. Despite being the only team to take a point from the Camp Nou this year, so far they have won just twice on the road and only Villarreal have scored less than their eight goals away from home, whilst at the Sánchez Pijuán, their six wins and three draws have just about kept their heads above water. Their poor form brought about the sacking of Marcelino in early February and although they initially recorded good wins against Osasuna and Valencia, as well as a draw against Atlático Madrid, last week’s 1-0 defeat to Sporting was a real setback.
Michel joined Sevilla in February after a successful period at Getafe, who he took to their best ever league finish in 2010 with an attacking attractive style of play, but it is as a Real Madrid and Spanish player that he is most well known, having won five league titles in the 80s and 90s, as well as 66 international caps.
Three of Barça’s current squad, Dani Alves, Seydou Keita and Adriano, were signed from Sevilla. Alves joined Sevilla in 2002 and played for six seasons before coming to Barça for 35.5 million Euros in 2008. Seydou Keita played with Alves in the 2007-08 season, before he became the first signing of the Guardiola era. Adriano took the same route after playing for Sevilla from 2004 to 2010, before joining Barça at the start of last season. Barcelona born Fernando Navarro was seen as a natural replacement for Sergi at the start of the 2002-03 season, but a bad injury, sustained ironically against Sevilla, cut his progress and he moved to Mallorca in
2005, before in the summer of 2008 he signed for Sevilla, where he has established himself as a regular.
Sevilla’s leading scorer Alvaro Negredo is a bustling handful for any defence and “The Shark of Vallecas” is a proven goalscorer – bagging 27 last season. Negredo was signed from Real Madrid in 2009 after he’d rejoined the club from a successful two year spell at Almeria and became Sevilla’s most expensive ever signing. (via FCBarcelona.com)