Joaquin Sanchez’s retirement announcement after 23 years in the top flight of professional football has been met with great respect and admiration by Real Madrid, as the club honored the veteran winger for his contributions to the sport with a post on twitter.
“Given the announcement of your retirement, from Real Madrid we wish you and your family the best in this new phase of your life, Joaquín. It has been an honor to share all these years of football with a Real Betis legend who represents the best values of our sport”, wrote the club on its Twitter profile.
Ante el anuncio de tu retirada, desde el Real Madrid te deseamos lo mejor a ti y a tu familia en esta nueva etapa de tu vida, @joaquinarte. Ha sido un honor compartir todos estos años de fútbol con una leyenda del @RealBetis que representa los mejores valores de nuestro deporte. https://t.co/nsp6Mxtg2B— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) April 19, 2023
Sanchez has had a long and illustrious career, playing for several clubs throughout Spain, but it was his time at Real Betis where he made his mark. He was a fan favorite and became a symbol of the club, winning the Copa del Rey with them in 2005. It was in 2006, while at Valencia, that Joaquin nearly signed for Real Madrid joining the likes of Cannavaro, Diarra, and Ruud van Nisterlooy. He has spoken about the missed opportunity on multiple occasions.
“It’s a thorn that stuck in my head. The day I retire, it may end up being one of the saddest things I remember about my sports career. When you don’t have options, you always dream of something, but when you have the chance, you’re sadder, but I have been happy in life and that has made me not remember much,” he explained in an interview on Onda Cero’s El Transistor in 2019.
Despite never playing for Real Madrid, Joaquin has always been held in high regard by the club and its supporters. In 2021, Real Madrid honored him for his long and successful career by presenting him with a personalized jersey in a tribute ceremony at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.