Spanish football legend Joaquín retires

Joaquín played the last game of his career in Real Betis’ final fixture of the season against Valencia on Sunday night.

The Betis winger was replaced in the 60th minute of the 1-1 draw at the Benito Villamarín and received a standing ovation from the home fans as well as hugs from his team-mates. Valencia head coach Rubén Baraja and Betis boss Manuel Pellegrini also showed their affection for the former Valencia man.

He spent five years with tonight’s opponents Valencia, but later returned to play for Betis after his spell at Mestalla. After playing for an hour in the final game of the 2022-23 season, the Betis captain also equalled Andoni Zubizarreta’s record of 622 La Liga appearances.

“My body feels a bit strange and I have the feeling that I’m going to cry my eyes out, but I hope to enjoy it too,” said the 41-year-old in an interview with Betis’ official media channels when asked about retiring from the game.

Kieran Quaile | GSFN

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