Ever Banega felt mixed emotions after Sevilla’s Europa League triumph over Inter brought the curtain down on his stay with the club.
Argentina international Banega first joined Sevilla in 2014 and returned to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in 2017 after a season in Serie A with Inter.
He will continue his career in Saudi Arabia with Al-Shabab after Sevilla won Europe’s secondary club competition for a record sixth time on Friday.
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The 32-year-old played an important role as Julen Lopetegui’s side beat his former club 3-2 in Cologne, setting up Luuk de Jong’s second goal after Romelu Lukaku had put the Nerazzurri ahead in the fifth minute.
Diego Godin equalised in the 35th minute, but Lukaku sent an overhead kick from Diego Carlos into his own net after Inter failed to clear a free-kick from Banega and there was no way back for Inter.
“I have no words for this emotional and at the same time a bit said moment. I have to leave the club of my life, but I am satisfied,” Banega told Movistar.
“I am leaving with another title, thanks to my team-mates, and I am leaving with my head held high.
“I want to thank all of them [the Sevilla players] for making me win another cup and the coaching staff for taking us to the top.
“The hug with Julen [Lopetegui after the final whistle] was one of love and work because of what we went through this season. I remember when I lowered the level a bit, he left me out of the team and showed me that without work you can’t get anything.
“Now I have to enjoy, take the cup to Seville, to the people who could not be here but that we feel close too.”
Banega spent five seasons at Sevilla across six years with a 12-month spell at Inter in between.
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He participated in three of Sevilla’s six Europa League titles but the 32-year-old was not offered a contract for next season.
Al-Shabab confirmed the signature of Banega in January, with the move to occur now that season has finished and the player’s contract has now expired.
Six-time Saudi champions Al Shabab finished fifth in the Pro League in 2018-19.
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