Two names dominate the front pages of the Spanish newspapers: those of Sevilla FC and their "heroic" goalkeeper Beto, whose saves in the penalty shoot-out brought the Liga team victory in the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday.
"Beto crowns an epic Sevilla," says El País after Unai Emery's side defeated SL Benfica on spot kicks following a 0-0 draw in Turin. "[Andrés] Palop was there, watching from the stands," the publication adds, referring to the club's former goalkeeper who starred in the Rojiblancos' penalties triumph over RCD Espanyol in the 2007 UEFA Cup final. "Beto mirrored that performance as he saved two spot kicks [Palop stopped three] while his team-mates were ruthless from 11 metres."
Both Marca and AS choose "Treble winners" as their respective headlines above images of the 2013/14 champions. "This is our tournament," AS quotes Sevilla president José Castro as saying while Marca notes that "Benfica failed to take advantage of incredible opportunities before losing an eighth European final". The sports paper also cannot help but get excited about a future European footballing occasion."The [UEFA] Super Cup will be an all-Spanish affair!" it says.
In Andalusia, meanwhile, El Diario Sevilla says that the city centre scenes matched those inside Juventus Stadium shortly after the game's conclusion. "The explosion of joy from 10,000 Sevillistas [or Sevilla fans] inside the stadium was also felt at La Puerta de Jerez, where thousands gathered shortly after the final whistle," the paper explains.
"The big screen showing the match at the Auditorio Rocío Jurado de La Cartuja helped to generate one of those atmospheres felt only on the greatest of nights," it continues. "Bitten nails, silences broken by relieved applause, and the fans singing the club anthem as though they wanted their voices to carry all the way to Turin."
"The Hero of Turin" is the big headline on A Bola, which says that "Benfica's disappointment has a name: Beto".
"Curse" declares Record, referring to the "Béla Guttmann curse" striking again after Benfica's eighth consecutive European final defeat. Beto is also under the spotlight, while Óscar Cardozo's 12th failure in 54 penalties is another of the top stories.
Emblazoned on O Jogo is a photo of Sevilla's Portuguese goalkeeper saving Cardozo's conversion attempt, supported by the words "Beto was curse enough" – alluding to the fact that Benfica have won no European silverware since coach Béla Guttmann left in the mid-1960s. "There were Portuguese celebrating in Turin, but they were Beto, [Daniel] Carriço and Diogo Figueiras," concludes the northern newspaper.
"Spanish domination" proclaims Gazzetta dello Sport. "Sevilla finally won the cup of Juventus' regrets but needed penalties to defeat Benfica, the side who eliminated the Italian champions in the semi-finals," the pink newspaper says. "But the Portuguese side played better and created three times more chances than their Spanish rivals. Destiny wanted Sevilla to win the Europa League this season. The Spanish side were good but lucky against Betis, against Valencia and here in the final.
"Spain wins it all this season – now for the Madrid derby in Lisbon. Juventus coach Antonio Conte was in the stands to watch the game, biting his hands and thinking what could have been. Sevilla did not seem stronger than Juve. The same Benfica side that scored with every chance they created against the Old Lady missed the many they had in the final."
The victory for Sevilla, and more specifically their captain and Croatian international Ivan Rakitić, dominates in the midfielder's homeland. Sportske novosti leads with an image of the 26-year-old – whom it names as man of the match – on its front page with the headline: "Rakitić and Sevilla win the trophy." The player is quoted as saying he "was so happy that I couldn't feel my legs for the excitment".
"It's impossible to describe my happiness – we lived for this match and for the moment that we could lift the trophy," he gushes. "I am proud that I am only the second Croatian, after Darijo Srna, to lift the trophy. I am dedicating it to my wife and my daughter, who are my biggest supporters in life."
Večernji list states: "Rakitić, best player in a thrilling match", adding: "He won the Europa League, he received the trophy from [Michel] Platini and with that title he is coming to Brazil [for the FIFA World Cup]."
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