Barcelona star Leo Messi had a big influence on Giovani Lo Celso’s move to Real Betis last summer, it has been revealed. The Argentine midfielder is on a season-long loan from PSG and has been a revelation for Betis this term. Le Parisien says when Betis first made their offer, Lo Celso sought the advice of Messi about the club and the LaLiga in general. Messi was full of praise for Betis and told Lo Celso his style of play would be ideal for the local competition. And his prediction has proved right with Lo Celso playing his way to a permanent deal with Betis this season.
Once regarded as one of Spain’s most promising talents, injuries saw Sergio Canales become something of a forgotten man for a number of years. He moved to Real Betis last summer in search of a new lease of life, having been in and out of the team at former club Real Sociedad. Now, it looks as if he has found a home. He and Giovani Lo Celso are the playmakers in a three man midfield, and Canales in particular has taken on the creative responsibility and is the leader of a side in search of the top spots in LaLiga Santander.
Quique Setien’s management has no doubt played a big part in Canales’s impressive form. Betis are a team that like to build from the back, and with Canales in a deeper role, he is able to receive the ball from defence and have more of an impact. In possession his confidence is clear for all to see. Direct and aggressive with his dribbling and always quick to release the ball, he has real personality to his play. Short passes are a staple of his game (92% of passes he has made this season have been short passes), but he has an excellent final ball and also takes the majority of Betis’s set pieces.
He has added goals to his game this season too, scoring in a famous win at the Camp Nou as well as against Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Defensively his contributions have also been excellent; 25 tackles and 110 recoveries, both of which are above the average for midfielders in LaLiga Santander. Perhaps most impressive though are his levels of fitness. Various teammates have commented on how hard Canales works in training, and that can be seen on the pitch. Given that his early career was plagued by three long term knee injuries, the effort he has made to return to such a high level shows his determination and strength of character.
Real Betis fans have really taken the Cantabrian midfielder to their hearts since his arrival, and they will be hoping his influence can help lead them to success in one of the most exciting seasons in the club’s recent history.