As well as being a brilliant player, Joaquin is famed for his entertaining outlook on life and jokes. When he renewed his contract for a further season, not only were the Real Betis fans pleased that their icon would be continuing, but much of the local media would have rejoiced too.
“We were in the room the day before an important Europa League game, at night, after dinner we met in the room [with Joaquin] to tell jokes and so on.”
“And we said to him – Manuel Pellegrini is a person, very good manager, at certain points very serious, completely concentrated – and we said to him [Joaquin] tomorrow you have to give the team talk before the match.”
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“You’ve got balls no? And we said to him, put 4 or 5 words into the speech that have nothing to do with the speech you’re going to give.”
“We gave him four or five words, Korea, chinchampu, and so on…”
“Before the talk we reminded him about the words and he said, yes, yes, here I go. ‘Let’s go boys, a very important game, we have to win. We’re playing for qualification, and as they say in Korea – Chinchampu!’ (laughs).”
“What I do is look at the gaffer, and he’s there (head in hands), struggling to work out what’s going on, like ‘what f****** craziness is this?’ (Laughs).”
“We came out of the blocks like motorbikes, we won. Minute one, goal.”
Given what Canales was describing, it’s likely he was referring to a 2-0 away win to Ferencvaros, where Betis sealed qualification from the Europa League Group Stage in November. Cristian Tello opened the scoring with a goal in the fifth minute.
No doubt plenty will be content in the knowledge Joaquin has at least 12 more months of stories to give to Spanish football.