Liga Santander: Joaqun's most atypical challenge | LaLiga Santander 2019

Football returns to Primera with the less passionate Seville derby and with Joaqun, on his way to 39, as the oldest veteran of the competition


Joaqun, during a recent training.

Be the derby of uncertainty. There are no favorites, because it is played on ash. Soccer returns at the strangest moment of our lives and it will be like throwing confetti after a heartbreaking funeral. Farewells and dismissals, fear of the future, few certainties. The empty stands will make the meeting even more unreal. Sevilla and Betis return to the pitch because the Liga commands it, but it is difficult to concentrate on the ball, in that spherical dream. How the muscles will respond. How to be the battle between the thick silence.

Joaqun Snchez (El Puerto de Santa Mara, 1981) has played 544 league games but few more shocking than this. Betis caught the virus with the taste of victory on his lips. And not just any triumph. That match on March 8 was played at home, against Real Madrid and with Rubi on the scaffold. The 2-1 was frozen in time. Then the confinement, the extraordinary measures, and this harsh return.

Aduriz's hip did not overcome this pause and, after his recent retirement, Joaqun has come to occupy the honor of being the youngest footballer. of the competition . There is a Chinese vase in the locker room. He is not maintained for what he was, but for what he is. His talent deserves a prominent position on the campus and he is a non-negotiable presence in his club.

Betis have played 27 games this season and Joaqun has spotted his boots in 26. In 20 he did so as a starter. He has eight goals, including a hat-trick against Athletic and two assists. The eighth player with the most minutes in the squad, ahead of Borja Iglesias, Loren, Guardado or Feddal. His performance after the break, even so, is a mystery. Time is a silent executioner. With the new regulation, five changes will be allowed in these last meetings. Honey for the muscles, oxygen for the bones. As a shock or to tempt the start game, Joaqun's work will be crucial for Rubi who, with a bottled 4-1-4-1, needs air on the sides and associative nose. A very closed system to protect a defense that suffers in the open field and that attacks its punctual genius from the Portuense, Fekir or Canales.

Privileged physicist

Joaqun will be 39 in just over a month. Few field soccer players have extended their careers so long. You don't need much to stay in shape, recently declared his partner Canales. A privileged physicist who allows him to withstand the challenges of the game and a very competitive mentality, far from the shameless image that he usually gives in networks and the media. He is no longer the electric footballer that he was, but has managed to recycle his virtues . His role has changed with age and Rubi uses it, not to find the bottom line, but to partner in the hot spots of the game. It conserves gold in its toes. Joaqun leads in the field, pushes and poisons. This will be his 19 derby in Primera. A reunion with football that will start cold. Sevilla, which looks to Europe and starts with a 14 point advantage over Betis, hopes that the absence of the public does not benefit the rival. These circumstances were unimaginable three months ago, emphasizes Lopetegui.

The new normal will be empty stands, football bordering midnight and Joaqun marking with the outstretched palm one of his precise passes. Everything has changed, or almost.

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