Football Features

Forgotten Sevilla players: from World Cup winner to Fantasy Football cult hero

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 17:33, 20 February 2021

Three simple and effective reasons can be attributed to Sevilla’s recent successes: a frugal business model, a very good scouting network and a youth program to match.

Under the leadership of former player-turned-sporting director Monchi, they’ve gone from a club looking over their shoulders to mixing it with the elite of European football.

Since the mid-2000s when everything seemingly fell into place, they’ve lifted a record six Europa League crowns. We’ve seen many great names turn out for them including academy graduates Sergio Ramos and Jesús Navas, as well as international stars like Dani Alves and Frédéric Kanouté.

But this is a club that was founded over 130 years ago meaning there are some players who represented Los Nervionenses that you might have forgotten about. But have no fear, we’ve compiled a list.

Ciro Immobile

Sevilla period: 2015-2016

Sevilla appearances: 15

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side and Italian marksman Ciro Immobile learned that the hard way during a less than stellar excursion at Borussia Dortmund, where he struggled for regular playing time under then-boss Jurgen Klopp. That subsequently led to a loan spell at Sevilla which proved to be the briefest of stays. Immobile ultimately made 15 appearances in all competitions, registering four goals before returning home. Since relocating at Lazio, he’s been nothing short of incredible, bagging 117 goals across 162 league outings.

Diego Simeone

Sevilla period: 1992-1994

Sevilla appearances: 64

When you think of Diego Simeone the footballer, three European teams come to mind. El Cholo is an undisputed legend at Inter Milan, Lazio and Atlético Madrid, where he’s currently managing to great acclaim. However, before representing those clubs, Simeone enjoyed two seasons at Sevilla where he proved somewhat useful from central midfield by registering 12 league goals from 64 appearances. His performances attracted the attention of Atléti and the rest, as they say, is history.

Bebeto

Sevilla period: 1996-1997

Sevilla appearances: 6

Simeone represented Argentina at the 1994 World Cup but he could not help La Albiceleste win a third championship. The same can’t be said for Bebeto who played an integral role as Brazil won their fourth title. During that run, he earned headlines for rocking an imaginary baby after scoring against the Netherlands which came days after his wife gave birth to their third child. Following that tournament, he found his way to Sevilla but that stay wasn’t as long as the one he enjoyed at fellow Spanish club, Deportivo de La Coruña.

Davor Suker

Sevilla period: 1991-1996

Sevilla appearances: 177

This one shouldn’t be obscure given the length of time he spent at Sevilla — and he’s fourth on their all-time top scorer’s list — but it’s fair to say Suker really became world-renowned in the years after he left. Firstly, he’d win a Champions League title at Real Madrid before finishing top scorer at the 1998 World Cup with national team Croatia. Following this, Suker joined Arsenal but that stay in England’s capital lasted just one season.

Khalid Boulahrouz

Sevilla period: 2007-2008

Sevilla appearances: 8

After really coming to international attention in a goalless draw against England, where he pocketed Michael Owen, the man dubbed “Cannibal” — due to his ability to “eat up” the opposition — earned a Premier League move, joining Chelsea, but despite starting promisingly, his time at Stamford Bridge never worked out. Before leaving for Stuttgart there was a loan spell at Sevilla that lasted for one season and six La Liga appearances.

Diego Maradona

Sevilla period: 1992-1993

Sevilla appearances: 29

Unquestionably the greatest player to represent Sevilla, though Diego Maradona was a far cry from the man who terrorised Serie A defenders in the 1980s. He reportedly chose them over Real Madrid and Marseille, the latter becoming a European Cup force, and he subsequently became teammates with goalkeeper Monchi. That said, Maradona — who famously guided Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986 — still managed eight goals across 26 league matches. Despite the one-year stay, he’s still fondly remembered.

Teemu Pukki

Sevilla period: 2008-2010

Sevilla appearances: 1

For a while, Teemu Pukki was the most talked-about Premier League footballer after registering six goals across Norwich City’s opening five matches last season. It subsequently made him a Fantasy Football cult hero but the goals soon dried up, ultimately ending the 2019/20 campaign on 11. Prior to becoming a favourite at Carrow Road, the Finnish marksman enjoyed a cup of coffee at Sevilla, the first club he signed for outside his native country.

Javier Saviola

Sevilla period: 2005-2006

Sevilla appearances: 42

In between Javier Saviola’s infamous transfer from Barcelona to Real Madrid, there were two loan spells at Monaco and Sevilla, he made 29 league appearances for both, though was narrowly more prolific at the latter. Saviola did end up leaving with a UEFA Cup winner’s medal. The former Argentina international bagged five goals across 12 matches as Sevilla went on to pick up their first continental title.

Ivan Zamorano

Sevilla period: 1990-1992

Sevilla appearances: 65

One of the most prolific 90s goalscorers, Ivan Zamorano shone immensely at Real Madrid and Inter Milan (where his shirt number became ‘1+8’ after Ronaldo took his No.9 following the signing of Roberto Baggio, who inherited the Brazilian’s No. 10). But oft-forgotten was a spell at Sevilla, where his 21 league strikes across 59 outings prompted Real to make him Hugo Sánchez’s replacement.

Christian Poulsen

Sevilla period: 2006-2008

Sevilla appearances: 93

You can literally count on one hand the number of players who have plied their trade in each of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues. Florin Răducioiu was the first and he’d be joined by Christian Poulsen, who checked La Liga off the list when he signed for Sevilla in the mid-2000s. The combative Danish midfielder ended an 18-year career at FC Copenhagen and he’s since re-joined former club Ajax in a coaching role.