Both among LaLiga’s most historic clubs, and both previous LaLiga Santander title winners, the Seville derby rivalry is one which has divided allegiances and even families within the city for over a century.
A strong British influence existed when organised football was first played in Seville back in the last decade of the 19th century. The first club in Seville was created in 1890, while today’s Sevilla FC were founded in 1905. Real Betis Balompie came into being just two years later.
After many official and unofficial early meetings in competitions as diverse as the Copa de Sevilla, Copa del Duque de Santo Mauro, Andalusian championship and Southern Regional Championship, the two clubs were founder members of LaLiga’s second tier, with Betis winning both 1928/29 meetings, 3-0 away and 2-1 at home.
Betis were the first to be promoted to the top flight and won what is to date their only LaLiga title in 1934/35, a title run which included a key 3-0 victory at their neighbours’ Nervion stadium late in the season. Sevilla followed up with a title of their own in 1945-46, albeit with no derby win as Betis were by then back in the second tier.
In total the teams have met 48 times in LaLiga between the top two divisions, and one thing that stands out is how often players and fans on both sides have enjoyed victories on their neighbours’ patch. Betis spoiled the opening party with a 4-2 victory when the rivals’ current Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan opened in 1958. Sevilla got revenge with a 4-1 away derby victory just the following year. More recently, Betis’ 5-3 win at the Sanchez-Pizjuan in January 2018 is the derby with the most goals in LaLiga history.
Another historic derby was in the 2013/14 Europa League Round of 16 with Sevilla coming back to draw level at 2-2 on aggregate at the Benito Villamarin – then go through 4-3 on penalties – on the way to winning the first of three consecutive trophies.
Only nine players have worn both the verdiblanco and rojiblanco in Seville derbies over the years, dating back to defender Joaquin Jimenez Postigo, who won a LaLiga winners' medal with both clubs. Tough defender Diego Rodriguez famously moved across the divide in 1988 while Spain’s Euro 2008 winning coach Luis Aragones spent three seasons at Betis as a player, while also sitting on both benches in LaLiga derbies.
Locally-born players have been a prominent feature of this fixture over the years. The LaLiga clash in September 2018 saw Sevilla captain Jesus Navas equal the club’s single player derby appearance record (17) – a number he has now surpassed – while Betis skipper Joaquin Sanchez’s winning goal that night was the 38-year-old’s second strike across his 17 LaLiga derbies.
5 things you may not know about the Seville Derby
The Sevilla derby is full of passion and is a fixture of many anecdotes. There are so many stories about this rivalry, from the surreal to the unbelievable. Here, we outline five things you may not know about this match-up.
1. This fixture goes back a long way
Officially, the first derby between these two teams from the Andalusian capital took place in 1915, shortly after Real Betis as we know it today was formed. They earned a 1-0 victory over Sevilla thanks to a goal from Alberto Henke and paraded the trophy they were awarded around the city. Unofficially, though, this derby first took place on Valentine’s Day in 1909. Sadly, the result of that meeting has been lost to history and remains a mystery to this day.
2. Both these teams have won LaLiga, two of only nine clubs in history to do so
These two sides rank among the most successful and iconic in Spanish football history. Real Betis secured the city’s first LaLiga title, finishing top in 1934-35 under the guidance of Irishman Patrick O’Connell. Sevilla followed up a decade later, edging out Barcelona by a single point in the 15th season in LaLiga history.
3. Jose Antonio Reyes heads the goal scoring record in the 21st century
Hometown legend Reyes, who tragically died in a road accident in 2019, is the fixture’s leading goal scorer since the turn of the century with 5 goals. One behind him sit Fredi Kanoute and Kevin Gameiro, both French-born strikers who have led the line for Sevilla in recent years. Betis have spread their goals out more, with their top scorer since 2000 being central midfielder Beñat Etxebarria, who now plies his trade for Athletic Club up north in Bilbao.
4. The European Seville derby
As if this derby couldn’t become any more intense, they were once paired with each other in a Europa League knockout tie, the Round of 16 of the 2013/14 edition of the continental competition. Fittingly, the tie went to penalties after both had picked up 2-0 wins away from home. The second leg may have been held at Betis’ imposing Benito Villamarin stadium but the home fans went home disappointed as Sevilla won the shootout 4-3 before going on to win the tournament on penalties against Benfica.
5. The 22-0
Historians have been arguing for a century over what took place when Real Betis and Sevilla met in 1918. What is known is that Sevilla won the match 22-0; it’s believed that Betis sent a team of children to represent them in protest at a decree which banned two of their star players from taking part due to the fact they were still completing military service.