Everton v Real Betis
Name: Real Betis
When and where do we play them? Everton will welcome La Liga outfit Real Betis to Goodison Park this Sunday (11 August) for the final fixture of their pre-season calender.
How can I watch it? Tickets are currently on sale and will be available in the Park End Stand, Main Stand and Lower Gwladys Street. Tickets can be bought online here, by phone or from the Park End Box Office. Supporters can also buy tickets from Everton Two, Liverpool One or TicketQuarter, located in Queen Square. Tickets are priced at £15 for adults and £5 for concessions.
Who is their boss? Pepe Mel. A forward in his playing days, he spent the best years of his career at Real Betis between 1989 and 1993. He took the managerial reigns at the club in the summer of 2010 when the club were in the Spanish Segunda Division and led them to promotion back to La Liga in his first season in charge.
Our Real Betis expert, the Daily Mirror’s Spanish football writer David Cartlidge, says that Mel is a clever and likeable character.
“Mel’s actually had books published, but in football too he’s an extremely intelligent man tactically. He’s brought Betis up from the Segunda Division amongst the elite and has altered tactics and players accordingly.
“Betis have played some incredibly attractive football in recent years. His relationship with the media and fellow professionals is outstanding too, with many remarking his likeability and down to earth character.”
Who is Betis’ key player and why? Striker Rubén Castro has hit 60 goals in 110 games with Real Betis in La Liga. Cartlidge describes him as 'an extremely mobile striker, and ruthless when making movement in and around the penalty area'.
Who is their unsung hero and why? Paulão, a 31-year-old centre-half is a rock in defence for Betis and initially arrived on loan before making his move permanent.
How did they get on last season? Last season was regarded a highly successful year for Betis, with a brand of attacking football securing Europa League qualification.
What changes have been made/are likely to be made this summer? The Spaniards have several squad members over the summer, including two key midfield men from last season. Cañas has signed for Swansea City, while Beñat has departed to Athletic Bilbao. The Club have made amends by bringing in a significant number of new recruits for the 2013/14 season.
How do Betis play and what sort of game can we expect at Goodison? How will their UK tour prepare them for the coming season? An extensive stay in Britain has featured many friendly fixtures against English opposition. David Cartlidge feels it will prove to be a positive exercise.
"Real Betis are a very positive side, and are encouraged by Mel to use the ball intelligently," he explains.
"Their brand of football, although it has Spanish traits such as the technique, skill and patience has an aggression and competitive edge about the style.
"Everton fans should look forward to some exciting football, with good use of width and smooth build-up play. The English teams they are facing will offer a physical test, which comes back the importance of reaching peak fitness ahead of the new season."
Tickets for Sunday's game are priced at £15 for adults and £5 for concessions. Click here to purchase.