Seville derby tougher than a 'Clasico' says Alves

Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:49am EST
 

By Mark Elkington

MADRID (Reuters) - The Real Madrid-Barcelona "clasico" is televised around the world and often decides the La Liga title, but a Seville derby is a tougher proposition, Barca defender and former Sevilla favourite Dani Alves has said.

Real Betis travel across the Andalucian city to take on neighbors Sevilla on Sunday (2030 GMT) for a derby of huge importance locally, and a match of major significance in the push for the European places in La Liga.

"They may not be as important as a Barca-Real in terms of the quality of players, the spectacle on offer, and the media coverage, but they are passionate games," Alves was quoted by Spanish media as telling Algerian newspaper Le Buteur.

"They are tougher than a 'Clasico'."

Betis lie fourth in La Liga with 19 points from 11 games, four behind champions Real Madrid in third, and 12 behind unbeaten leaders Barcelona.

Most significantly for their supporters, however, they have a four-point advantage over Sevilla in 10th.

Betis coach Pepe Mel, a former striker for the club, was refreshingly honest about his enthusiasm for Spain's most highly-charged city derby.

"This week I need to prime Pepe Mel the fan rather than Pepe Mel the professional. My players need someone to who is going to add that bit of spice," he told a news conference.   Continued...

 
Barcelona's Dani Alves attends a training session at Camp Nou stadium on the eve of their Champions League soccer match against Celtic in Barcelona, October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Albert Gea