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Tuesday, 17 May 2011 21:10

Miguel Lopes, Nelson enjoying Betis promotion

Seville club headed back to top flight

On-loan FC Porto defender Miguel Lopes is celebrating helping Real Betis secure promotion back to La Liga, after a two-year stay in the Spanish second tier.

Betis top the Segunda Division with three matches left, and although not confirmed as champions, the Andalucian club have a 12-point lead over third-placed Elche with just three matches to play, meaning promotion is secure for Pepe Mel’s side.

Porto boss Andre Villas Boas allowed 24-year-old Lopes to join Betis on a one-year loan deal at the end of last summer’s transfer window, and the former Portugal under-21 defender has featured in around half of the Seville club’s matches, including 16 starts across the league campaign.

“It is an enormous joy,” Lopes told Record. “We’re still not champions, but that is what we want now. I’m very proud to be a part of this squad. The fans are fantastic, they always fill the stadium and follow us away. I can say I already feel a bit of a Betica inside.”

Meanwhile, fellow Portuguese Nelson, who is on-loan from Betis at top-flight club Osasuna, also expressed his happiness at the achievement. “I’m pleased because it is something that has haunted the club in recent years,” he said. “Betis always has been and always will be a club for the top.

“This season, for personal reasons, I was on-loan with Osasuna, but I never stopped following the team’s path and hoping for success. I hope that this return is final and that the club can be revived in Spain and in Europe.

“Betis needs to assert itself again as a major Spanish club with its culture, tradition and history. I can remember well the day I signed for the club because it was one of the great joys of my career. The relegation hurt a lot because the club did not deserve it. I am very pleased that at the start of the season they will be back ready to fight.”

By Sean Gillen

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