Joaquín announces his retirement | Sports

Betis has released a video in which Joaquín, its 41-year-old veteran captain, announces his retirement from professional football at the end of this season, the 23rd of his career. “How quickly time passes. Nothing is forever. But isn’t art eternal? It is a window to eternity. Now all that remains is to hang up my boots. My art”, says Joaquín in an emotional recording.

At the top of it, Betis thanks its eternal captain. Joaquín is the second footballer who has played the most games in the League, 615, only surpassed by goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta, with 622. One of the most legendary players in the history of Betis and Spanish football is leaving. He played for Betis, Valencia, Málaga and also in Italy, for Fiorentina. 51 internationals with Spain, he played in two World Cups and one European Championship. They were the appointments of Japan and Korea 2002, Euro 2004 in Portugal and the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

The news revealed by the Andalusian club can be considered a surprise because no one expected it at this point in the season. However, Joaquín had been thinking about it for several weeks and in the end he decided to announce the end of his sports career. The charismatic footballer already suffered the same process last season. He had even decided to hang up his boots at the end of last year, but winning the Cup title against Valencia and what he lived after that experience convinced him to remain active for one more season.

The decision, however, has not been easy, since Joaquín had considered continuing until 2024 if Betis qualified to play the next edition of the Champions League. At the moment, the Betic team is in fifth place, with 48 points, three behind Real Sociedad, fourth. In the end, after deep reflection, the midfielder has decided not to take this possibility into account and retire at the end of the current season.

There are nine games to go until the end of the season, so if he plays at least seven, Joaquín would catch up with Zubizarreta as the player with the most games in the League. The possibility of breaking that record has become an obsession for the player. However, the deadline to be able to fulfill it is certainly tight.

“My time has come, the time to tell you that this season will be my last as a Real Betis footballer,” says Joaquín in a second video released by the entity. “I thank you for always accompanying me. Long live Real Betis Balompié always”, adds the captain, who has been the only footballer in Betis history to have won two titles, the 2005 Copa del Rey and the last 2022 Copa del Rey, won 17 years later. In addition, he was champion of the Youth Cup in 1999.

With his goodbye, not only a great footballer leaves, tempted in his time by teams like Manchester United, Chelsea or Real Madrid, but also a character who has transcended the borders of football to become a social phenomenon. With enormous self-confidence from a young age in his television appearances, Joaquín knew how to make the most of a quality that always defined his character. “I like to laugh at myself and I have never felt ashamed of the things I do”, he used to affirm when explaining his enormous popular success. With innate talent, he began by cracking jokes in many of his public appearances. Later, he was polishing his public exposure at the same time that he realized the strong impact of social networks.

Almost daily, he uploaded videos that revealed parts of his private life or reactions to certain television programs. It was in this environment where his figure grew in recent years to the point of becoming an interviewer for well-known figures from the world of culture, sports or politics. At the same time, he was the protagonist of a series in which his sporting life is told, from his beginnings in soccer in his hometown, El Puerto de Santamaría, to his last months at Betis itself. Betis was the club of his life, although Joaquín was also happy during his time at Valencia (2006-2011), Málaga (2011-2013) and Fiorentina (2013-2015), where he had his only experience outside of football. Spanish.

Married to Susana Saborido and with two daughters, the Copa del Rey won in 2005 with Betis presided over their wedding, next to the then president Manuel Ruiz de Lopera, with whom he maintains a great relationship. Clubs from all over the world, such as Madrid, as well as a large number of athletes, have published very affectionate messages towards his figure after his goodbye was made public. A myth for the Betis fans and one of the best-known public figures in Spain, Joaquín will offer a press conference on Thursday morning at the Luis del Sol sports city in Betis. In it, he will explain the reasons that led him to retire and put an end to an elite career, which began in the summer of 2000. An exciting journey in which he always felt very loved.

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