Ever Banega: The Unlikely King of the Europa League
Ever Banega, the Argentine maestro, etched his name into Europa League history with a career that mirrored the tournament’s unpredictability and drama. His three triumphs with Sevilla, the team synonymous with the competition, elevated him to the status of the King of the Europa League. Banega’s journey began in 2008 when he joined Valencia from Boca Juniors amid sky-high expectations, narrowly avoiding the ‘next Maradona’ tag. However, a rocky start, marked by a controversial off-field incident, threatened to overshadow his talent.
Undeterred, Banega quickly brushed off the embarrassment, letting his on-field prowess do the talking. Despite Valencia’s struggles under manager Ronald Koeman, Banega showcased his skills, living up to the hype from his Boca days. Yet, troubles persisted, with off-field issues leading to a loan spell at Atletico Madrid. Upon his return, a transformed Valencia side, featuring Spain’s football royalty, provided the platform for Banega’s technical brilliance to shine.
The enigmatic midfielder found his rhythm, leaving behind the missteps of his early career. His journey culminated in three Europa League titles with Sevilla, a testament to his resilience and footballing prowess. As he watched Argentina lift the World Cup from his new home in Saudi Arabia, Banega could reflect on a career that evolved from a misbehaving talent to the King of the Europa League, leaving an indelible mark on European football.