Joaquín Sánchez Rodríguez (Spanish pronunciation: [xoaˈkin ˈsantʃeθ roˈðɾiɣeθ]; born 21 July 1981), known simply as Joaquín, is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for and captains Real Betis as a right winger.
Joaquín with Valencia in 2010
|Full name||Joaquín Sánchez Rodríguez|
|Date of birth||21 July 1981|
|Place of birth||El Puerto de Santa María, Spain|
|Height||1.79 m (5 ft 10 1⁄2 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 24 September 2019|
He is well known for his pace and acceleration, as well as excellent dribbling and crossing ability. During his career he was mainly associated with Betis and Valencia, appearing in 518 La Liga matches over 16 seasons and scoring 66 goals. In the competition he also represented Málaga, signing with Fiorentina from Italy in 2013. Outside football, he is known for his sense of humour and recurring jokes.
Joaquín was born in El Puerto de Santa María, Province of Cádiz. In 1999–2000 he started his senior career, appearing regularly for Real Betis B (after spending five years in the youth ranks) as it was eventually relegated from the third division; in the following season he moved to the first team, making his professional debut on 26 August 2000 and having an immediate impact – 38 matches and three goals – as the Andalusians returned to La Liga after one year out.
Subsequently, Joaquín collected well over 200 official appearances for Betis in the following five years, assisting and scoring alike. During 2004–05 he played in all the games scoring five times, and added three goals in the campaign's Copa del Rey: in the latter, as the final was played at the Vicente Calderón Stadium on 11 June 2005, he played the full 90 minutes plus extra time as Betis won 2–1 against CA Osasuna.
In the following season's UEFA Champions League, Joaquín appeared in all six group stage games for Betis, including the 1–0 triumph over Chelsea and a 0–0 draw against Liverpool, at Anfield (third-place finish, UEFA Cup "demotion").
In late July 2006, following a conversation with Joaquín, Betis chairman José León stated that the player had convinced him that he would stay at the club for another year. "It has surprised me a lot,” he admitted. “I came to convince him and on the contrary, he has convinced me", he further added. In mid-August, the player caused shock at the club by declaring in a press conference his intentions to leave.
Joaquín was meant to move to Valencia CF in early August 2006 for €18 million, in a swap deal that also included Mario Regueiro. However, some difficulties in the payment appeared, along with the Uruguayan's insistence in remaining at Valencia, with the transfer thus being delayed.
Joaquín was loaned to Albacete Balompié as punishment by Betis owner Manuel Ruiz de Lopera, due to the player taking a certain percentage of the transfer fee. Lopera used a clause in his contract whereby he could be loaned to any club if it was decided by Betis (Joaquín travelled to his new club's facilities using his own transport and, to prove that he did so, had himself photographed by operatives working nearby. The switch was subsequently cancelled).
Joaquín officially moved to Valencia in late August 2006 for €25 million, making him the club's most expensive signing to that date as the player penned a five-year contract, with the choice of a further one-year extension. In his first year, he played 35 matches and scored five goals as the Che made it to the Champions League's qualifying rounds.
In 2009–10, Joaquín began facing stiff competition for a starting berth, being challenged by younger Pablo Hernández; during the course of the campaign – Valencia also played in the UEFA Europa League – both players received roughly the same number of minutes, and scored a similar total of goals.
With the departure of David Villa to FC Barcelona, Joaquín was given the No. 7 shirt for 2010–11. He led the scoring charts after the first round, netting twice in a 3–1 win at Málaga CF. On 12 February 2011 he scored another brace, helping Valencia come from behind at Atlético Madrid to win it 2–1, eventually finishing third and qualify to the Champions League.
On 24 June 2011, Joaquín left Valencia and signed for Málaga for three years, for a fee of €4 million. He made his debut for the club on 28 August in a 1–2 away loss against Sevilla FC, and opened his scoring account by netting twice in another local derby, a 4–0 home win against Granada CF.
In two home games in October 2012 separated by only four days, Joaquín scored to give Málaga the final win, on both occasions after having missed a penalty: he started against Real Valladolid (2–1) then netted the match's only against A.C. Milan in the Champions League group stage.
On 13 June 2013, aged nearly 32, Joaquín moved abroad for the first time, agreeing to a three-year deal with Italy's ACF Fiorentina. He made his official debut for his new team on 29 August, starting in a 0–1 home loss against Grasshopper Club Zürich for the Europa League playoff round.
Joaquín's first goal for the Viola came as a substitute on 20 October 2013, in a 4–2 home win over Serie A champions Juventus FC, and his second of the league season was the only in a success at S.S.C. Napoli on 23 March of the following year. He also played a part in the team's run to the Coppa Italia final, netting in a 2–0 home win over A.C. ChievoVerona in the last-16.
Return to BetisEdit
On 15 September 2019, Joaquín scored in a 1–1 draw against Getafe CF, marking his 400th appearance for the green-and-white. With this game, he also became the player with joint-most appeareances for them in La Liga with 307, a record previously held by Julio Cardeñosa.
Joaquín made his debut for the Spain national team on 13 February 2002 against Portugal, in a 1–1 friendly played in Barcelona. Brilliant club form for Betis saw him get called up for that year's FIFA World Cup, where he appeared twice: in his second match, the quarter-finals against South Korea, he was involved in a couple of debatable decisions, including one incident where the linesman raised his flag for a goal kick as Joaquín was crossing a ball to Fernando Morientes, who was denied a golden goal – the argument was that the ball had crossed the line. However, replays showed that it did not; the game then went to penalties, and he was chosen to take Spain's fourth attempt – despite carrying an injury –, which was blocked by Lee Woon-jae.
Joaquín played again for Spain through the nation's premature exit at UEFA Euro 2004, also being selected for the 2006 World Cup. He totalled five appearances, but was not first-choice at either competition, only starting twice overall.
During the early stages of the Euro 2008 qualification campaign, Spain lost 2–3 against Northern Ireland. After the match, Joaquín told in a Spanish radio interview: "Right now, the national team is a mess, chaos and Luis doesn't know how to handle it in these difficult moments. I know that what I'm saying is not going to help me get back into the national team, but it's what I feel." He later commented, "The only thing I wanted to say is that these are not clear times for the national squad after losing to Northern Ireland .... but it was not my intention to attack the team or Luis Aragonés"; subsequently, he failed to be selected again as the national side went on to record 35 consecutive games without defeat, winning a record 15 consecutive times and lifting the Euro 2008, 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 trophies.
Joaquín grew up in a big family, with eight brothers and sisters in total. As the third child, he had two elder brothers. Three of the eight children in this family are or have been engaged in football. Besides Joaquín, elder brother Lucas played for Cádiz CF, while Ricardo also played in Betis' youth ranks.
It was Joaquín's uncle, called "El Chino", who firmly believed in Joaquín's talent and afforded the daily round trip between Cádiz and Seville when the youngster was in Betis' youth system – he died in 2002. Ever since then, Joaquín dedicated most of his achievements to him and always remembered him as his mentor. Growing up, he wanted to be a bullfighter, and was breastfed until the age of 7.
After the 2005 domestic cup conquest Joaquín married Susana on 8 July, with the trophy present as a distinguished witness as the entire Betis squad attended the wedding ceremony.
|1999–00||Betis B||Segunda División B||27||2||?||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1.||2 April 2003||Antonio Amilivia, León, Spain||Armenia||3–0||3–0||Euro 2004 qualifying|
|2.||6 September 2003||D. Afonso Henriques, Guimarães, Portugal||Portugal||0–2||0–3||Friendly|
|3.||9 February 2005||Juegos Mediterráneos, Almería, Spain||San Marino||1–0||5–0||2006 World Cup qualification|
|4.||26 March 2005||El Helmántico, Salamanca, Spain||China PR||3–0||3–0||Friendly|
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