Banega: the bad boy playmaker who blew away Guardiola and Mourinho

Ever Banega once broke his ankle when his car rolled onto his leg at a petrol station and got caught up in a sex scandal at Valencia… but his magic has blown away Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho and now the Sevilla ace has Manchester United in his sights

  • Ever Banega is a man Manchester United will need to watch against Sevilla
  • Maverick playmaker has earned plaudits from Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho 
  • Sevilla man has a bad boy reputation but few can find a pass like the Argentine 

Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho have rarely found common ground during their careers, yet neither doubt the man determined to ensure Manchester United’s season ends without a trophy.

Ever Banega, the Sevilla playmaker, is a rock star off the pitch and an artist on it. Few can spot a pass, hit a dead ball or find space like the Argentine.

The 32-year-old is set to join Saudi Arabian club Al-Shabab after Sevilla’s season ends, and his departure to a little league is a pity for one of the best enganches — the Argentine term for a playmaker — of modern times. 

Ever Banega is the bad boy Sevilla playmaker that Manchester United will need to look out for

His dazzling display in the quarter-final win over Wolves highlighted Banega’s determination to end his Sevilla career with a third Europa League title. 

If he is given similar time and space by United in tomorrow’s semi-final, there is every chance he will hurt them just as badly.

Thankfully, Banega does damage to opponents these days rather than his own career.

During his first spell in Spain, at Valencia from 2008-14, Banega suffered one of football’s most bizarre injuries when he forgot to put the handbrake on when filling up at the petrol station. His car rolled back and broke his ankle.

Few can spot a pass, hit a ball or find space like the Argentine but he has a rockstar reputation

The Argentine midfielder was involved in an internet sex scandal during his spell at Valencia

There was an internet sex scandal at Valencia in 2008, the wild hotel-room party after Argentina had won the Under 20 World Cup in 2009 and the reports — denied by coach Ernesto Valverde — that he arrived drunk for training before a match against Barcelona in 2012.

It begs the question: why do clubs bother?

They bother because with the ball at his feet Banega is far more Mozart than Motorhead.

Both Pep Guardiola (L) and Jose Mourinho (R) have both spoken highly of Banega in the past

In that game against Barcelona, Banega was man of the match, justifying Guardiola’s remarks that ‘Banega is fantastic. We’ll have to be plugged in to render him ineffective’.

And after Banega-inspired Sevilla knocked United out of the Champions League in 2018, then United boss Mourinho said: ‘There are many Sevilla players who would play in my team.’

No prizes for guessing Banega was one of them.




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