Teams of the Decade, #20: Sevilla 2005-07

January 13, 2010

It’s hard to believe that, just two and a half years ago, Juande Ramos had a reputation as one of the most promising managers in Europe. In guiding Sevilla to consecutive UEFA Cups, a Copa del Rey and the Spanish and European Super Cups within two seasons, he oversaw by far the most successful period in the club’s history.

Ramos kept things simple tactically (which is why Sevilla are low on this list) – playing a fairly standard 4-4-2 formation, with a holding midfielder, attacking full-backs, and one forward looking to drop into space.

Ramos’ success was largely down to some excellent signings – Luis Fabiano (right) and Frederic Kanoute were picked up after disappointing spells at Porto and Tottenham, Dani Alves cost next to nothing and emerged as one of the world’s top right-backs, and Enzo Maresca, criminally underused by Juventus, was the perfect box-to-box midfielder to play alongside the disciplined Marti.

He also benefitted from two excellent, pacey wide players emerging from the club’s youth set-up – the tireless right-sided Jesus Navas, and the versatile Antonio Puerta, an excellent left-footed winger, who tragically collapsed and died from a heart attack at the beginning of the 2007/08 season.

Shortly after, Ramos left for Tottenham. Sevilla have kept much of their successful squad together, and have emerged as a top five side, but they’ll struggle to win five trophies in eighteen months ever again.

The 2006 UEFA Cup final win (below left) against Middlesbrough was the highlight, the scoreline being the biggest-ever winning margin in the history of the final.

In winning the trophy the next season, against Espanyol, they became only the second club in history to successfully defend the trophy. Their finest moment was probably on the way to that final, when goalkeeper Andres Palop scored a last-minute header to force extra-time (below right), and Sevilla went onto win the game. Palop also saved three of the four penalties during the shoot-out in the final.

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