Sergio Canales – from wasted talent to Real Betis star player

Sergio Canales has finally started to produce. He is one of the best Real Betis players this season and hopes to lead them to Copa del Rey glory.

Sergio Canales’ career path has certainly not been an easy one. From top Spanish talent and future Real Madrid star, through big flop and wasted talent, the 27-year old is now establishing himself as one of the leaders of the latest Real Betis generation.

But let’s start from the very beginning. Sergio Canales worked his way to professional football through the youth academy of his hometown club, Racing Santander. He joined the club as a 10-year old in 2001 and spent 9 years, playing in all of the youth categories as a youngster.

Canales made his first-team debut on 18 September 2008, playing in a UEFA Cup home tie against FC Honka. Roughly two weeks later, he made his first La Liga appearance on Santander’s game against Osasuna.

He made his breakthrough to Racing Santander’s first team in the 2008-09 season. The Spaniard caught the eye of the best European clubs right away, as a creative and technically gifted attacking midfielder. He scored 6 goals in 26 La Liga appearances at the age of 18.

On 12 February 2010, Real Madrid announced the signing of Sergio Canales on a six-year deal for a fee believed to be around €4.5 million. Canales was 19 at the time and made his Madrid debut in a 0-0 draw against RCD Mallorca.

His big move to Real Madrid came in a bit shaky period for the club, as their biggest rivals dominated the Spanish and European football in the period.

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He couldn’t work his way to the first team and played only 10 La Liga games for Los Blancos, but Canales is not regrating his time in Madrid.

“I learned a lot of Real Madrid, being surrounded by such great players. Although I played here and there, we won the Copa del Rey and reached the semifinals of the Champions League.” – he said last summer when joined Real Betis.

Sergio Canales was loaned and then sold to Valencia, but he just couldn’t find the right form. In 2013 he completed his move to Real Sociedad for €3.5 million and spent 5 seasons there.

Canales moved to Betis as a free agent in the summer of 2018. He finally started to deliver and has established himself as the team’s leader this season.

The 27-year old has scored 6 La Liga goals for Betis, as the latest one came in the 1-0 victory against Atletico Madrid last weekend. He also scored in the epic 3-4 victory on Camp Nou over Barcelona and netted one against his old club, Real Madrid.

Canales plays outstanding football this season and has been completely reborn. He is their main man on the pitch, has a rate of 88% successful passes in La Liga and noted 2 assists as well.

The Spaniard led Betis to the first place in the Europa League group ahead of Olympiacos and AC Milan. They will play Rennes in the Round of 32 next Thursday.

Betis is also in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey and they drew the first leg 2-2 against Valencia on home ground. They had a 2-0 lead in the first half.

The Final of the Spanish Cup will be played on Benito Villamarin. It would be an extra motivation for Canales and his teammates if they reach it, as they will play the final at home. Real Betis has not won the Copa since 2005.

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