Joaquin has enjoyed an incredible career, but it seems to be increasingly clear that this is going to be his final season as a professional footballer. Now the ripe old age of 40, he made his debut with Real Betis back in August 2001.
“What’s happening is that, in the end, I’m 40 years old,” he said to Marca in comments carried by Mundo Deportivo. “The other day I played with kids who, when I debuted, weren’t even born and I say ‘here, I’m already out-of-date’. I’d like to enjoy what I have left, but this is sure to be my last year. But it could be a beautiful year, and we could be in Europe again.”
Betis are indeed flying this season. The Andalusian club are fifth in La Liga at the time of writing, just two points behind reigning champions Atletico Madrid in fourth place. Sevilla, their great rivals, are six points clear in third and did, admittedly, hand Betis a dispiriting 2-0 defeat at the Benito Villamarin last weekend.
They’re also on course to push themselves into the next round of the Europa League. Betis are currently second in Group G, three points behind leaders Bayer Leverkusen and one point clear of third-placed Celtic. Their last outing in Europe, admittedly, was also poor; they took a 4-0 beating at the hands of Leverkusen. Joaquin has made 12 appearances in both competitions so far this season and contributed one assist.