Football: Bebeto the Real focus of attention

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The Independent Online
Bebeto could hardly have picked a better debut match for his reappearance in Spain, as his new side Seville play Real Madrid tomorrow.

But the return of the Brazilian World Cup striker - who was greeted by 7,000 Seville fans on arrival - will not be the only point of interest in a game that brings together teams with a tradition of swapping both players and coaches.

Jose Antonio Camacho, the Seville manager, is a former Real stalwart, while Real's leading goalscorer, the Croatian striker Davor Suker was until last season the darling of the crowd at Seville's Sanchez Piz-juan stadium.

The euphoria surrounding the signing of Bebeto has produced 3,000-strong crowds at Seville training sessions in scenes reminiscent of Diego Maradona's ill-fated season at the club in 1992-93. Bebeto, who spent four highly successful seasons with Deportivo La Coruna, had made no secret of his desire to return to Spain. "I and my family feel very happy here." he said.

Another Brazilian international, the Real Madrid defender Roberto Carlos, is full of praise for Bebeto. "He scores goals, and what's more he has ability and intelligence. For me, he's the perfect player," he said.

Roberto Carlos was one of several Real players who defended the Real coach, Fabio Capello, during the week after consecutive goalless draws at home. "We're to blame if we don't produce spectacular play," he said.

Real's problems worsened on Tuesday when Alvaro Benito was badly injured in Spain's Under-21 game against Slovakia. The striker will miss the rest of the season, increasing the likelihood that Capello will look for reinforcements when the Spanish transfer market reopens in December.

For the Seville game Capello welcomes back the Balkan strike-force of Davor Suker and Predrag Mijatovic, who scored for Croatia and Yugoslavia respectively in World Cup action last weekend.

Suker has promised he will not celebrate if he scores against his old club on Sunday, taking a leaf out of the book of Gabriel Moya - who seemed to beg the forgiveness of Seville fans after getting on the score-sheet for Valencia earlier this season.

Camacho also found himself in need of clemency after beginning his career at Seville with just one win in nine games. But he has turned things around with three consecutive wins and will be hoping for a repeat of last season's encounters with Real.

Then managing Espanyol, Camacho humiliated his old team with categorical victories in both league and cup which prompted the end of Jorge Valdano's time in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

Uruguay have sacked their national coach, Hector Nunez, in the wake of a defeat by Chile which left them struggling in the South American World Cup qualifying competition. "They didn't give me specific reasons. They told me it was over. Because of the results, I believe," Nunez said.

Nunez's dismissal came on the same day that Venezuela parted company with their coach, Rafael Santana, although in that case it was not clear whether Santana jumped or was pushed.

Tuesday's 1-0 defeat in Santiago left Uruguay seventh in the South American group, from which the top four teams qualify for the World Cup finals. They have won two games and lost three, the results including a shock home defeat by Paraguay. But the contest is close and Uruguay are only two points behind fourth-placed Argentina.