Isco has crossed the dividing line of Spain's fiercest rivalry. 

Having played for Sevilla last season - and then seen his contract ripped up in December - the attacking midfielder has now joined city neighbours Real Betis. 

He became the fifth arrival at Estadio Benito Villamarin this summer, following in the footsteps of Ayoze Perez, Hector Bellerin, Marc Bartra and Leeds loanee Marc Roca. Barcelona centre-back Chadi Riad has since become the sixth addition on a season-long loan. 


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Isco's time at Sevilla was brief. 

He joined last summer after nine years at Real Madrid, with Julen Lopetegui the man in charge of the serial Europa League winners at the time of the move. 

However, the now-Wolves boss was sacked in October, an incident that Isco pinpoints as the beginning of the end for him.

"When Lopetegui left and the winter market window approached, I saw many strange things within the club," the 31-year-old said.

"To begin with, they called my representative to find a way out for me, without previously discussing anything with me, so as soon as I found out I went to speak directly with [sporting director] Monchi.

"I told him: 'I don't know what's going on. I don't know if you want me, if you don't want me… Be honest with me and we'll fix it without problems.'"

"I don't know what kind of economic crisis Sevilla were in, but after that conversation everything went wrong.

"I just wanted to know the thoughts of the club and Monchi told me that if I found a new club that I would leave.

"After that conversation, he began to say that I wanted to leave, something that was not true, and he began to call both me and my lawyer every day, harassing us to sign the termination.

"So I went to talk to him again and told him: 'Monchi, you are not being honest with me or with the people you tell things to. I want to stay and you keep saying that I want to go.'"

Isco then alleges that Monchi became violent, saying: "I told him that he was the biggest liar I had ever met in the world of football and he attacked me.

"He came towards me, he grabbed me by the neck, we moved apart and they had to separate us completely."

"As you will understand, after that, I did not want to continue there under any circumstances.

"And although I was sorry, because I had a very good relationship with my team-mates and the fans treated me wonderfully, I couldn't be comfortable in a club where the sporting director attacks me and nobody speaks up or apologises. Not for the aggression, not for all the lies he was leaking. So I gave up my contract and left."

Isco, who played 19 times for Sevilla in total and scored once, then saw a move to Bundesliga surprise package Union Berlin fall through in the January transfer window.

Monchi has since moved to Aston Villa as their president of football operations, while Jorge Sampaoli, Sevilla head coach at the time of the bust-up, was sacked in March, with Los Nervionenses experiencing a resurgence at the end of the campaign under Jose Luis Mendilibar, rounding off a significant upturn in form by winning the Europa League following a tense penalty shootout against Roma and ensuring qualification for the Champions League group stage. 

Real Betis meanwhile will compete in Europe's second-tier competition this term under Manuel Pellegrini after finishing sixth in LaLiga in 2022/23, and coincidentally their first meeting with Sevilla this campaign will be in just a week's time in a friendly at Akron Stadium near Guadalajara. It should be anything but sedate. What sort of reception will Isco receive?