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USMNT midfielder Johnny Cardoso secures big transfer to LaLiga side Real Betis

LaLiga club Real Betis officially announced the transfer of United States men’s national team midfielder Johnny Cardoso on Wednesday. 

The 22-year-old defensive midfielder became a regular starter for Brazilian club Internacional where he made 144 appearances. Cardoso mostly played as a defensive midfielder but still managed to tally seven goals and five assists with Internacional.

Real Betis paid $6.3 million for the American according to ESPN as Cardoso signed a five-year contract.

Johnny Cardoso Real Betis transfer

How good are Real Betis?

Real Betis have established themselves as a top side in Spain. The Seville club haven’t looked since earning promotion to LaLiga in 2015.

Real Betis finished top six in the LaLiga table the previous three seasons including a fifth-place finish and Copa del Rey triumph during the 2021-22 campaign.

This season Real Betis are once again challenging for a top-five finish and just missed out on finishing second in their Europa League group. 

The club will still compete in the Europa Conference League as they face Dinamo Zagreb in a playoff in February.

Will Cardoso get playing time?

Real Betis are in desperate need of help at the defensive midfielder position. One of the club’s go-to defensive midfielders, Guido Rodríguez, broke his leg during training on Dec. 7. Rodríguez won the 2022 World Cup with Argentina but will be sidelined for an extended period.

Betis typically use a 4-2-3-1 formation which means Cardoso would have a partner at the defensive midfield position if he starts. One of those partners could be Mexican legend Andrés Guardado. The power of Concacaf could run the Real Betis midfield.

Cardoso will certainly challenge to be a starter with Rodríguez out injured.

If Cardoso can get consistent minutes with Real Betis, he’ll enter the conversation to be a starter for the USMNT. He’s made nine appearances for the national team including five in 2023.

How many Americans play in LaLiga? 

Cardoso won’t be the sole American playing in Spain’s top flight as fellow USMNT midfielder Luca de la Torre plays for Celta Vigo.

Cardoso will be just the 10th American player to compete in LaLiga.

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