Real Betis icon Joaquin remains open minded on retirement

Real Betis skipper Joaquin has insisted he is yet to make his mind up on retirement in 2023.

The former Spanish international turned 41 in July, after agreeing a 12-month extension at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, until the end of the 2022/23 season.

That was expected to be a final campaign for Joaquin, despite making 21 La Liga appearances last season, as Los Verdiblancos secured a Europa League spot.

Manuel Pellegrini will utilise him sparingly in the coming months, but Joaquin is keeping the door open, particularly if Real Betis can reach the Champions League qualification places in 2023.

“I said it was my last year the last time, so I’m afraid to say if I’m going to retire or not”, as per an interview with Diario AS.

“In principle, the intention is for it to be my last year.

“But, if we qualify for the Champions League? They won’t be able to get rid of me!”

Real Betis have only played in the Champions League once in their history, in 2005/06, with Joaquin featuring in all six group games, before joining Valencia at the end of the season.

Joaquin went on to make 15 Champions League appearances for Los Che, and 10 during two seasons with Malaga, as part of a top flight career which has spanned an incredible 23 seasons.