Europa League final: Who shall I support – Sevilla or Roma?
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Not sure who to get behind in Wednesday's UEFA Europa League final between Sevilla and Roma? Let us help you out.
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Sevilla or Roma will get their hands on the UEFA Europa League trophy on 31 May and fans of the two teams are counting down to kick-off in Budapest.
But what about the neutrals tuning in for the first senior European showpiece of the 2022/23 season? UEFA.com lays out the reasons why you should plump for one or other of the finalists.
Why should you support Sevilla?
Colours: White, black
Nations represented in current squad: Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, France, Morocco, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain
Just as you want a rock concert to end with a rousing tune, so there'd be no better way to bring the curtain down on this Europa League campaign than with one of the world's best football anthems – Sevilla's 'himno del centenario'. The Andalusians' centenary anthem, written for that milestone by local musician El Arrebato in 2005, is as catchy as they come and would be guaranteed to get all neutrals humming along (even if the lyrics were beyond them).
On top of their earworm anthem, a Sevilla win would also bring a dash of romance – not in terms of the six-time winners adding a seventh title but the man coaching them. "Good things come to those who wait" goes the saying and José Luis Mendilibar's presence in their technical area embodies that.
The 62-year-old is a veteran of some of the Spanish Liga's less renowned coaching outposts, his own previous European experience prior to this season coming in the UEFA Intertoto Cup during a brief spell as Athletic Club coach in the mid-noughties. Having done a superb job of leading Sevilla to the final and safety in the Liga, he now gets to pit his wits against José Mourinho in a European final. A coaching underdog story to savour.
Why should you support Roma?
Colours: Yellow, red
Nations represented in current squad: Albania, Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, England, Gambia, Guinea, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Turkey
To find an Italian team winning the Europa League we have to go back almost 25 years, when the competition was still called UEFA Cup and in the nineties seemed an "exclusive club" for Serie A. In 1999 Parma won, after successes by Inter (1989/90, 1993/94, 1997/98), Parma themselves (1994/95), Juventus (1989/90, 1992/93) and Napoli (1988/89). There was an Italian derby in the final four times.
Roma, after their triumph in Tirana in the first UEFA Europa Conference League final, now have the chance to end this drought. Last season's triumph was the Giallorossi's first trophy in 14 years, and their shot at back-to-back European titles is making the fans dream. They have never stopped supporting the team, home and away. Last year, on their return from Albania, there were 3,000 people waiting at the airport in the middle of the night: the fans followed the players to the Trigoria headquarters, where a party started that lasted until the next day.
Boarding two open-top coaches, staff and players crossed the city. They did so at "walking pace", because thousands of fans surrounded the vehicles immediately after departure. People's sense of belonging – as Mourinho himself often emphasised – is what is most surprising and striking about the Roma fans. Stadio Olimpico is now regularly sold out, and people are always behind the team and coach. "Mai sola mai" ("Never alone") says a song by Marco Conidi that Mourinho heard Lorenzo Pellegrini sing and wanted to be played in the stadium before the team enter the field.
Napoli won the Scudetto this year and many tourists filled Naples to celebrate. In Budapest it is worth cheering on Roma just for the similar scenes that would occur in the Eternal City the next day.