The fairy tale continues. In 2006, the sense of wonder was palpable in Eindhoven as unheralded Sevilla prepared for their first European final: the end of a near six-decade wait for a major trophy was nigh. Eleven years on, it is difficult to imagine life without them. They have not so much upset the old order as obliterated it.
Just ask Liverpool. It was the feted Reds, the five-time European champions, who met the Spanish side in the 2016 final in Basel. They were eager to halt Sevilla's charge to an unprecedented third successive UEFA Europa League title and, at the same time, match the Andalusians' record of four trophies. To realign powers along more traditional lines.
For 45 minutes it was all going to plan for the team led by Jürgen Klopp, a force of nature seemingly destined for a Hollywood ending of his own. He had arrived in October with the club in a rut and oversaw a turnaround every bit as remarkable as their Lazarus act against competition favourites Dortmund in the last eight.
And now a fine Daniel Sturridge goal had given them the lead in the final. Liverpool threatened another; Unai Emery looked at his watch and prayed for half-time. He got his wish. Then, 17 seconds into the second period, came a piece of divine intervention almost beyond the realm of dreams as Kevin Gameiro turned in an equaliser. Liverpool never recovered.
Sevilla were suddenly irresistible – the stars had aligned. Skipper Coke, a player with 13 goals in 169 previous outings for the side, was inspired. He put them 2-1 up in some style, sweeping in after a lovely Vitolo run, then settled it with a third 20 minutes from time for the team that entered in the round of 32 following the UEFA Champions League group stage.
"You should pencil us in for next year," club president José Castro had joked to Seville's mayor 12 months earlier during their homecoming parade. It has become an annual event.
Squad of the season
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