The transfer of Dani Ceballos to Real Madrid didn’t go down at all well in the eyes of the majority of Betis fans. Many felt that signing for a direct rival in La Liga was just not an acceptable option.
The move seemed to take ages to complete and once it was all over I’m sure Dani breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Having passed the obligatory medical ok he must have thought that was that; but then all the talk came out after leaving Betis about Madrid’s buy-out clause and about Neymar trying to influence him to join Barça.
When the potential transfer to Real Madrid was first announced, the loan option was briefly considered whereby Dani would sign for Real but then remain at Betis for some time; similar to the way in which the Marco Asensio signing was conducted when he joined Real Madrid from Mallorca.
However, any initial thoughts about this were quickly dispelled. The media wasted no time in pointing out that this would not go down well at all with the Betis support. In fact, by even suggesting a loan deal in the first place, nobody would be doing Dani any favours.
Having a foot in both camps just wasn’t possible and the Betis support wouldn’t have stood for it. Dani had to make a decision one way or another and there is no doubt that he will have been well aware of this as soon as the serious negotiations with Real Madrid began.
Dani had to either stay and pledge his future to Betis or go to Madrid properly; and that was always going to be the main driving force behind the deal.
Dani will have remembered that he found himself in a similar situation a couple of years ago while re-negotiating terms with Betis; then under Pepe Mel.
Amid relative controversy at that time over whether he would be staying with the Andalucían club, Dani changed the picture on his twitter home page from one of him in Betis colours to that of him wearing the Spain kit.
Despite having been a member of Spain’s successful under-19 side that summer, it didn’t impress a large section of the Betis support who took this to mean that the new picture was a precursor to Dani moving on.
Although negotiations between Dani and the club were then at an advanced stage, the twitter image of him no longer wearing green and white caused an outcry at the time. He was forced to issue a formal statement at the time denying his reasons for changing the picture were for anything other than national pride.
Dani had to explain that that he basically changed his photograph from one of himself wearing the thirteen stripes to wearing the colours of the national team because he felt honoured to represent Spain. As playing for ‘La Roja’ was so close to his heart, he simply wanted to share that with his followers.
Nonetheless, a large section of the Betis crowd remained unconvinced; and for a time it might have appeared that their fears were justified as negotiations then entered a protracted stage before Dani finally committed himself to the club.
Back to today though, and it’s well known throughout the Spanish game that Betis as a club have a huge and passionate support who weren’t going to take Dani’s move at all well.
They weren’t happy when former Real Madrid goalkeeper Antonio Adán was seen in Cardiff for the Champions League final or when Betis manager at the time Pepe Mel congratulated his friend Unai Emery on Sevilla winning the Europa League a couple of years ago.
The depth of the feeling shared by the Betis support was illustrated by Pepe Mel having to quickly follow up with a statement emphasising that he meant Sevilla’s Europa triumph was good for Spanish football - with the emphasis on Spanish as opposed to anything else. So it’s easy to see how young Dani had to make sure this move was the right one for him.
There’s no doubt that once Dani had expressed an interest in joining Real Madrid he would have needed to do this properly rather than via the loan option based on the reaction of the Betis support in the past.
Once Dani had agreed talks with Real Madrid he knew there could be no going back. Adding Barça to the mix only made the situation worse; but by this time the deal was almost done.
As a player, Dani is young, keen and ambitious. He wants to win Champions League trophies and an important driver for him is that he is proud to play for his country. No doubt he will have sat down and thought very carefully about what he was doing long before negotiations opened with Madrid.
That he cared about Betis as a club is clear from the long farewell message he wrote on his twitter account; thanking everyone who helped him and not least the fans for their support.
Now that’s it’s all done and dusted he can get on with the pre-season and focus on the football. In that sense, going to the USA won’t be a bad thing for him at the present time.