A lifetime passed in front of Joaquin on a festive night full of emotions. 23 years in professional football and 622 games in LaLiga are already part of the history of a unique footballer. It was a special, vibrant and moving tribute, perhaps the best for a character who has transcended the world of football to become a true social icon. The final chapter of Joaquin's farewell took place in his field, the Benito Villamarín, filled with 60,000 Béticos who gave themselves to their idol in a demonstration of faith. The axis of the tribute was a friendly match between Joaquin's teammates at Betis and rivals and also teammates of the teams in which he played in addition to the Sevillian team, in the case of Valencia, Malaga and Fiorentina.
In the eleven in which Joaquín played, players from the first team were lined up, in the case of Aitor Ruibal, Miranda or Borja Iglesias. With Canales, Juanmi, Ayoze and Guardado on the bench. Players who accompanied Joaquín in his career at Betis passed through that team, such as Doblas, Juanito, Rivas, Assunçao, Oliveira or Denilson. On the bench, in addition to his two brothers, Ricardo and Lucas, who a few minutes in the second half, other teammates such as Contreras, Luis Fernández, Ito, Varela, Tais, Edu, Cañas, Arzu, Capi, Barragán, Merino, Cejudo, Benjamín, Melli or Rubén Castro. All coached by Manuel Pellegrini, who has led Betis to Europe for the third consecutive year and for the first time in its history.
In the so-called team of legends played men who have made history in Spanish football. Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Marchena, Capdevila, Angulo, Ceballos, Baptista, Guti, Cazorla, Luque and Raúl faced the verdiblancos, with José Antonio Camacho on the bench, the coach who made him debut in the Spanish national team and took him to the World Cup in Korea and Japan with 20 years. Reina, Albelda, Camacho, Mendieta, Saviola, Sergio León, Nolito, Morientes, Tristán, Van Nistelrooy, Bellerín, Borja Valero, Fabián, Duda and Jesús Navas completed the selection of stars. The referee of the match was Eduardo Iturralde González. Ceballos, Reina, Sergio Ramos, Bellerín, Raúl and Fabián were the most acclaimed players by the green-and-white fans. To Ceballos, the Betica fans asked him to return from Madrid. Also Jesus Navas, world champion with Spain and captain of Sevilla, eternal rival of Betis, was very well received in a crowded Villamarín. "I didn't hesitate for a moment to be here," Navas said.
Fernando Vázquez, Lorenzo Serra Ferrer and Enrique Setién, three coaches at Betis who marked Joaquín's career, were also invited to an event that was lived with enormous intensity. The model and journalist Eva González served as presenter in a function that opened with the performance of the singer Niña Pastori, friend of Joaquín. The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, attended the tribute of one of the most illustrious Andalusians. The proceeds of the match were destined to the fight against childhood cancer.
The 60,000 Béticos present returned to enjoy the stops of Casillas, the bicycles of Denilson, the class of Guti or the talent of Cazorla. It's what it takes to culminate a 23-year career. Several generations of class players forged at the end of the twentieth century and in this twenty-first century went to pay a heartfelt tribute to a unique footballer like Joaquín. The result was the least, but the portuense scored in his farewell and the party that was lived in the green-and-white stadium was of the time. Even the Torre del Oro, one of the emblematic monuments of Seville, was adorned with a projection of Joaquín's face.
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