Joaquín: “The last thing I’m thinking about is stopping playing football.”

Joaquín Sánchez thought long and hard about whether or not to sign a new deal with Real Betis last season. It is no secret that at times during the season, he was convinced that it would be his last year as a professional footballer, as he himself acknowledges in the sixth episode of his programme, ‘La penúltima y me voy’.

“It’s been a difficult year for me, there are mornings when I say… maybe this year was too much for me”, Joaquín said last season.

As Estadio Deportivo report, he ended up renewing his contract with the Andalusian club. At 41 years of age, he is now travelling with Betis to Old Trafford for the side’s Europa League last-16 tie. “At 41, it’s a privilege and a source of pride to play against a historic rival like this. The last thing I’m thinking about is stopping playing football,” the Betis captain admitted yesterday at the pre-match press conference ahead of tonight’s game.

The sixth episode of his series reveals that Joaquín went through some low moments last season. The episode will be broadcast tonight, precisely after Betis’ match against Manchester United, and the veteran winger is at his most emotional, shedding tears when his wife tells him that it “breaks her soul” when he’s in the squad and she doesn’t see him play.

For the last four years, every season I’ve been here, he tells me that it’s his last and that he’s going to retire, ‘this is the last, this is the last’…”, recalls his team-mate, Sergio Canales. And even his brother was convinced that he was not going to continue playing this season: “His body is telling him that he can’t play anymore”.

Kieran Quaile | GSFN

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