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‘I take sustainability into every decision I make’published at 15:50 16 February

Alex Bysouth
BBC Sport

Media caption,

Hector Bellerin: Real Betis midfielder praises club’s work on sustainability

Hector Bellerin’s grandma was as big a ‘Betico’ as they come. She would hand him green and white gifts every Christmas. Even though he played his football in Barcelona, deep down the youngster’s heart always belonged to Real Betis.

Bellerin initially got the chance to represent a club also adored by his father in 2021, on loan from Arsenal, and having now settled permanently in Andalusia, the defender’s affinity has blossomed into something far deeper.

In Betis, Bellerin has found an institution with the same moral compass, one committed to championing sustainability and tackling social issues.

The 28-year-old is comfortable discussing such topics at length, from environmental concerns, to why other players don’t speak out and the pressure on modern-day footballers.

He covers the role of masculinity and mental health, suggesting not all footballers want to “drive massive cars and be so strong and so manly”, and feels clubs should be obliged to provide psychologists and allow players time to work on their mental health.

The defender has always supported Betis’ social causes and while on loan participated in the Futbol Mas project with his girlfriend, visiting the poorest areas in suburban Seville to play football with youngsters and talk about emotions and relationships.

Now he takes a keen interest in Betis’ Forever Green initiative, a project that over the past three years has helped them become La Liga’s greenest club – among its many measures has been introducing electric bikes and scooters for employees.

“For me, sustainability has always been a big thing,” explains Bellerin, who is also a shareholder at Forest Green Rovers.

“It is something I take into account in every single decision in my life and to be part of a football club that is conscious of that, that is trying to put systems in place for fans, for workers, for staff and players too, to make things easier in order to have a greener lifestyle, is important and an inspiration.”

Read more on the story here.