After weeks of ongoing negotiations, Villarreal and Real Betis have officially reached an agreement for a two year loan transfer deal for Matias Nahuel Leiva to join the Heliopolitans.
Sporting Gijón were also interested in the services of Nahuel, but it was Betis offer that appealed the most to the interests of both Nahuel and Villarreal.
The deal has a mandatory clause that stipulates in case Nahuel plays more than 25 matches for Betis during either season, they will be obliged to sign him permanently. The accord also stipulates that Villarreal have a 2 year buy-back option in case Betis activate the aforementioned buyout option.
Matías Nahuel Leiva (Rosario, Argentina, 1996), the youngest of 5 siblings, joined the youth ranks of Villarreal in 2011, after his family left his hometown city of Rosario to seek a better future in Spain. Prior joining Villarreal, Nahuel used to play for Escuela ADIUR back in Rosario.
Despite his obvious immense talent, Nahuel was unable to feature for the youth teams of Villarreal until he turned 16. He had to wait for two years due to bureaucratic inconveniences since he didn't possess an Spanish passport at that time. Nahuel's daily routine included: living in the Villarreal residence, training after school, and feature in scrimmages, and play friendlies every now and then until he turned 16.
Gonzalo Rodríguez was his closest friend at that time. He would often invite Nahuel to his house, where they would play FIFA, or go to the movies. Gonzalo helped Nahuel make the transition into the Spanish culture and to acclimatize to the club as well. After the departure of Gonzalo, it was Musacchio that took Nahuel under his wing and guide him into the complicated life that surrounds being a football player.
The bureaucratic issue was still at hand nonetheless. The youth coaches at the Villarreal academy we're considering that the issue was stalling his progress. Therefore, Juan Carlos Garrido decided that at age 14, Nahuel would train with the first team in the playoff round of the Champions League. Finally, based on incentives, the months passed by and Nahuel was able to officially play with the youth teams of Villarreal. He was always a step ahead, skipping stages from the C to the B team.
Nahuel made his first team debut in the 5-1 routing of Real Sociedad at El Madrigal on 13 January 2014, coming on for Moi Gómez, and featuring the last 23 minutes of the encounter. His first goal came several months later on August 28th, netting the last goal in a 4–0 home win against FC Astana for the campaign's UEFA Europa League.
2015 was his most successful year after winning the U19 European Championship with the Spanish national team. He would then go on and make the preseason with the first team, shinning in friendlies such as the 2015 Emirates Cup, and scoring against important teams like VfL Wolfsburg.
Nahuel also made a debut appearance for Villarreal in the season opener against Betis than ended in a 1-1 stalemate. Unfortunately, Nahuel struggled during the season. He struggled to cope with the physicality of the league, and was easily displaced of the ball by stronger opponents, and subsequently failed to validate his remarkable form during preseason.
Villarreal USA wants to wish Nahuel the best of luck at the Benito Villamarín with Betis. Nahuel is one of our most remarkable canteranos. We hope that he excels at Betis and that it enables him for a return to El Madrigal in the future with full of success.