“I say goodbye to myself”, Joan Manuel Serrat commented today after the announcement of his last tour, the one that will close in Barcelona, ​​on December 23, 2022, a career without equal in Spanish and Catalan music. And that’s what another artist is doing this season, this one with a ball at his feet, the interpreter of an author’s soccer game, Betico Joaquin Sanchez.
This Copa del Rey is going to be the site of recreation for the Puerto Rican. Manuel Pellegrini is going to give him free rein. “The most important thing is to enjoy, feel like a footballer. I am excited and motivated now that I play less to feel like a footballer”, he declared with his heart in his hand in Alcoy last night, after he returned to sit down as a teacher on the irregular grass of El Collao, with a goal and two assists included. Your commitment is admirable. And he forces all his teammates to be up to the task and not loosen an iota in matches in fields of dust, which arouse lukewarm stimuli.
For the great captain, the stimulus is capital because he dries up the cup, with a small ce. At 40 years old (at his age he maintains a market value of 1.50 million euros for the specialized portal transfermarkt, no less), he knows that every occasion, such as the one he may have in the imposing Celtic Park next week, He will take it like the child who goes anxiously with the ball to recess.
⚽️ Joaquin makes history with Betis: the first player to score with the Verdiblanca with more than 4⃣0⃣ years
Eternal @joaquinarte! https://t.co/2lupUmJjDF
– Sports Four (@DeportesCuatro) December 1, 2021
Pellegrini has given the title to the right winger in the five games of the group stage of this Europa League and he also did it yesterday in Alcoy. On the other hand, he has taken part in only eight of the fifteen league games and always coming off the bench, the last time, in those final minutes against Sevilla, which he did not fit in very well.
His reaction in the throes of the derby was transitory and as soon as the heat passed, he went back to his business: enjoying and making people enjoy. To the beticos and the non-beticos. The CFI Alicante players rushed after the game to perpetuate the match, to testify that they played one day with a symbol of Spanish soccer. And Joaquin, delighted to distribute that illusion like a wise man. That’s why he invited the team bus to leave El Collao without him, immersed in selfies and autographs with people of all ages and conditions.
Betis has an intangible that is priceless, impossible to ponder: the dedicated admiration of the Spanish fans for the figure of their captain. An image capital, with what that also implies as a claim for more banal things but necessary for the business to fuel.
He is a legend of our football. A unique type, synonymous with smiles and fun. @CFIAlicante fans surrender to Joaquin Sanchez
@RealBetis #CopaDelReyDAZN
– DAZN Spain (@DAZN_ES) December 1, 2021
In the second round of the Cup, against another rival who will be of a lower category (the draw will be tomorrow, Friday at twelve noon) and if not, there will be a setback , Pellegrini will play the siren again for Joaquin to go out and have fun with the ball for a while. And by the way, playing really well, like in Alcoy.
Joaquin, as announced in El Hormiguero a few days ago, is already living his countdown to close an admirable career of 21 seasons in the top flight, including two in Serie A with Fiorentina. With 587 games in the Spanish League, he only has Basque goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta ahead of him, with 622. There are 35 games difference that reflect evidence: if the player from Porto had not gone to Calcio that two-year period, surely, he would retire in a few months with another record delivered to the flight of his cape.
Joaquin Sanchez says goodbye to himself. And his soccer, perfumed with pitch.

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