Lopetegui signs new deal with Europa League champions Sevilla

By Sports Desk January 10, 2021

Sevilla have announced Julen Lopetegui has signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract as the Europa League champions' head coach.

Lopetegui was appointed by Sevilla at the start of the 2019-20 campaign and led them to a fourth-place finish in LaLiga as well as the club's sixth Europa League/UEFA Cup crown.

The Basque coach had previously seen his reputation take a hit.

He was sacked by Spain just before their 2018 World Cup campaign was due to begin as a result of accepting an offer to take charge of Real Madrid after the tournament, and he only lasted until October with Los Blancos before being dismissed again.

His first season at Sevilla saw the Andalusians finish in the top four after two campaigns out, though Lopetegui's biggest achievement was presiding over their successful Europa League run.

Sevilla had to see off Roma, Wolves and Manchester United in a tricky knockout phase, before then recovering well from a shaky start in the final to beat Inter 3-2.

The former Porto boss has also taken charge of a positive – if stylistically unspectacular – start to the 2020-21 campaign, with Sevilla sixth on 30 points after 16 matches.

However, they have at least two games in hand on all but one of the five teams ahead of them, and beat fifth-placed Real Sociedad 3-2 on Saturday.

After Saturday's victory, Lopetegui has a 58.2 per cent win rate in LaLiga with Sevilla, the best record of any coach (with more than four games in charge) in the club's history.

Lopetegui also guided Sevilla through their Champions League group, with Borussia Dortmund awaiting in next month's last-16 clash.

Related items

  • Bryan Gil completes Tottenham move as Lamela joins Sevilla Bryan Gil completes Tottenham move as Lamela joins Sevilla

    Bryan Gil has joined Tottenham in a deal that involves Erik Lamela moving to Sevilla.

    Bryan, who spent last season on loan from Sevilla at Eibar, is playing for Spain at the Tokyo Olympics.

    Reports emerged last week that Spurs were close to signing the 20-year-old for a fee of £21.6million (€25m) plus Lamela, who joined the Premier League club from Roma in 2013.

    While no fee has been confirmed, the deal has now gone through, subject to international clearance.

    Bryan, who has represented Spain at senior level and has signed a five-year contract with Spurs, scored four times in 29 appearances last term, with 29-year-old Lamela netting three goals and providing one assist from 33 games in all competitions.

    Lamela has penned a three-year deal with Sevilla, and will wear the number 17 shirt for the 2021-22 campaign.

    The Argentina international made 257 appearances in all competitions during his eight-year stint with Tottenham.

    Bryan, meanwhile, becomes Spurs' second signing under Nuno Espirito Santo, following on from the arrival of goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini on loan from Serie A club Atalanta.

    Spurs have also tied down Son Heung-min to a new contract, though uncertainty surrounds Harry Kane, who has been heavily linked with Manchester City.

  • Barcelona and Neymar reach agreement to end contract dispute Barcelona and Neymar reach agreement to end contract dispute

    Barcelona and Neymar have reached an amicable agreement to end their long-running dispute over the Paris Saint-Germain forward's contract.

    The Brazil international had claimed he was owed €43.6million in unpaid bonuses by LaLiga giants Barca.

    Neymar insisted he was due the huge sum as a loyalty bonus, having signed a new five-year contract with the Catalan club in 2016.

    A judge ruled in Barca's favour in June 2020, ordering Neymar to pay his former employers €6.7m.

    Barca on Monday revealed the case is now closed.

    A club statement said: "FC Barcelona announces that it has extrajudicially and closed amicably different labour and civil litigations that had opened with the Brazilian player Neymar da Silva Santos Junior.

    "Thus, the club and the player have signed a transactional agreement to end legal proceedings that were pending between both parties: three claims in the labour jurisdiction and one civil proceeding."

    Neymar joined PSG for a world record fee of €222m in August 2017.

  • NBA Draft 2021: Josh Giddey – the next Australian set to take the league by storm? NBA Draft 2021: Josh Giddey – the next Australian set to take the league by storm?

    From trailblazer Luc Longley and his trophy-laden time alongside Michael Jordan in Chicago, to Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, Matthew Dellavedova and Ben Simmons. There has been a healthy contingent of Australian stars gracing the NBA.

    Adelaide 36ers sensation Josh Giddey is set to join the growing list of Australians in the league when the 2021 NBA Draft takes place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday.

    After reigning NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball was taken by the Charlotte Hornets with the third pick of the 2020 Draft, a player from the NBL is projected to hear their name called early for the second consecutive year.

    Giddey has emerged as a potential lottery pick and could be drafted anywhere between the seventh and 14th selections following his exploits for the 36ers.

    The 18-year-old playmaker caught the eye of NBA executives in a season which saw him crowned the NBL's Rookie of the Year after leading the league with 7.6 assists per game, while averaging 10.9 points and 7.3 rebounds in 28 appearances.

    Regarded as the best Australian prospect since three-time All-Star Simmons was drafted first by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2016, 36ers head coach Conner Henry hailed the Melbourne-born point guard.

    "It's really been a rewarding experience for me as a coach," Henry told Stats Perform. "It's the first time I've had the opportunity to coach an elite talent at such a young age.

    "I didn't really know what I exactly had coming in. I had seen Josh on film and in the Chicago camp a year earlier, when he was just a young, fairly tall, skinny kid who didn't play all that well. Carried himself confidently. You could see he played at a pace and made others around him better, but it wasn't like he stood out.

    "Then you fast forward five-and-a-half/six months, he walks in and is two inches taller, 15kg heavier and he has really started to grow into his body. Then I knew I had something pretty special.

    "It became pretty evident after a month and a half that he was going to be able to play - and play at a high level against grown men. As we went down that path with him, we were able to keep throwing more and more systems at him. He was very open to listening, to understanding what we're trying to put in play.

    "Having played the position before, I was able to talk to him about angles. 'Do you see this window of an opportunity here when you turn a corner', 'how do you read the floor initially when you rebound the ball and pushing out on the break', these little things. I think he was well ahead of me already when I brought those things up. Really rewarding to see his growth and confidence grow daily."

    Since 2012, Giddey's assists per game figure is only second to Cairns Taipans point guard Scott Machado – who averaged 7.6 in 2019-20.

    "Every player when they reach a certain level of recognition or professional ranks, they're always the best of the best as they keep going in advancing on their path. Josh wasn't satisfied. He was always pushing forward and trying to get better, always trying to connect with his team-mates and that's his greatest strength because he makes everyone around him better," Henry said.

    "His offensive game will continue to grow; he will be able to score more and he is going to become a very good three-point shooter eventually - the mechanics are sound. The release off the hand has improved, he is under the ball more, the rotation has improved and it will only get better.

    "At the end of the day, his true strength is his size, his feel for the game and ability to find his team-mates."

    While Giddey only shot 43 per cent from the field, the teenager – who was surprisingly overlooked for Australia's Olympic Games squad – frequently demonstrated his playmaking ability, athleticism and high basketball IQ under Henry's guidance in Adelaide.

    Henry – a former assistant with the Orlando Magic, having played for the Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings in the NBA – likened Giddey to fellow Australian and sharp-shooter Joe Ingles.

    Ingles has become an integral part of the Utah Jazz franchise since his arrival in 2014, ranking fifth in three-point percentage (45.1 – a career high) last season.

    "He'll get to a point where he will have to play harder as he matures physically," Henry said of Giddey. "He won't be able to take periodic breaks in the game and that can be managed minutes wise of course. He will have to be switched on at both ends, even more so than he was with us.

    "Even at 18, he was very good but there were moments when at both ends of the floor where either we had to teach or correct him on things. He'll be fine, he will be surrounded by fantastic coaches who will push him. He likes to be pushed as a player. He will have to improve on the defensive end. I think he will become a good defender.

    "I look at some of the Aussies in the league right now, Ingles isn't this elite athlete that is running up and down, high flying and dunking on people. Josh is that similar kind of Ingles body type. Plays at a good, sound speed, has good strength, uses his length wisely on both ends of the floor and Josh will get better and better in that part of the game in how to adjust and play both offensively and defensively."

    Henry added: "Josh has been used to be playing in FIBA rules. Now he will be playing in NBA rules. With the defensive rules in place with the NBA, you can't pack the paint like you can in FIBA, where you can really load up. That, coupled with the ability of the offensive players to have more freedom of movement, where in FIBA it's quite physical.

    "In the NBL, freedom of movement can be impeded quite a bit with a hand check, body check or hold. Josh is going to have even more success in the pick-and-roll game at the NBA level. He had very good success with us.

    "I think his height, ability to see the floor and ability to make team-mates better, in the NBA rules, are only going to compliment his game and help him grow."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.