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Real Betis’s Barcelona tribute act is even better than the real thing | Sid Lowe

Before the match, Real Betis’s manager had to apologise for his admiration for Barça. After beating them, Barcelona’s players spoke of their admiration for him

In the final moments before the first half began on Sunday afternoon, Real Betis’s manager, Quique Setién, approached Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets and asked him for his shirt. He wanted to frame it, he said. Busquets nodded and smiled, so Setién thanked him and headed out towards the bench at the Camp Nou. As he went, he also had a word with Lionel Messi, whose shirt already hangs on his wall, alongside that of Luka Modric. Messi was returning to action after three weeks out with a broken arm, today of all days, and Setién sidled up to him, greeting him fondly.

“I’d have waited a bit longer, not taken any risks,” he grinned. “I couldn’t,” Messi replied; sitting out was driving him up the wall and he was desperate to play.

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