MADRID (AP) One of the men behind Sevilla’s recent success is leaving the club.
Sports director Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo, known as Monchi, is ending his 17-year stint with Sevilla. He is expected to join Italian club AS Roma in the near future.
Monchi departs after revolutionizing the Spanish club and helping it reach 16 finals and win nine titles in Spain and Europe. His scouting system helped rescue the team from the brink of financial collapse and turned him into one the most sought-after soccer directors in Europe.
Monchi is believed to have helped Sevilla earn more than 200 million euros ($215 million) in transfers with his method of finding cheap players with potential and re-selling them to bigger clubs.
Among the players discovered by him are Dani Alves, Ivan Rakitic, Julio Baptista, Sergio Ramos, Seydou Keita, Jesus Navas and Carlos Bacca. Alves, a regular with Brazil and currently with Juventus, is considered one of his most successful signings – being bought for 1 million euros ($1.1 million) from a small Brazilian club and sold to Barcelona for 30 million euros ($33 million).
Despite a limited budget compared to the powerhouses of European soccer, including local rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid, Monchi helped Sevilla win the last three Europa League titles. It also won two Copa del Reys, one Spanish Super Cup, one European Super Cup and two UEFA Cups.
The team is contending for the Spanish league title for the first time in nearly a decade, sitting third in the standings behind Barcelona and Madrid. It made it to the last 16 in the Champions League, but a tearful Monchi watched as Sevilla was eliminated by Leicester.
The 48-year-old Monchi, a former goalkeeper, had a contract with Sevilla until 2020, with a reported buyout clause of five million euros ($5.4 million). Spanish media said his deal with Roma is almost finalized.
[ LISTEN: MiB talk to Gomez, Martino about Pulisic, USMNT ]
Despite his departure, Sevilla is expected to keep using the so-called “Monchi Method,” which consists of a vast network of scouts and soccer specialists who watch games in leagues around the world, especially in places where Sevilla can have a competitive edge in the transfer market.
Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni