Real Betis secured their first trophy in 17 years after beating Valencia on penalties last night, winning the third Copa del Rey in the club’s history.
Among many fairy tale narratives on the night, some of the best were that of captain Joaquin and Manuel Pellegrini. The 40-year-old winger was in tears at the final whistle and plenty of times afterwards, telling the cameras that he was emotional having seen the city of Seville in the days building up to the final.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini got his just rewards too, securing his first major trophy in Spain after 13 years managing in the country.
Speaking to the media after the game, Pellegrini was characteristically balanced.
“It was important to bring together the support of the public and the quality of the team. When I saw the people, I knew it would be very difficult to lose this match. The squad always stayed calm and followed their idea of play, we never lost it. We deserved it.”
Asked if this was the happiest day of his career, Pellegrini remained respectful, as reported by Diario AS.
“I don’t like to compare. It’s a day of a lot of happiness. I had good seasons with other teams. But no doubt, this is a special day for me.”
Although the celebrations will have minimised the importance of everything else, Betis must return to action next weekend with a fight for the European places on their hands.
All five of Real Betis’ penalties were taken by substitutes, with Juan Miranda scoring the decisive fifth.
“Before arriving, Fekir and Alex suffered muscle contractions. Then we knew that there were good takers that are more specialists [than others]. They were five great penalties. All of them were specialists and they were rested.”