Real Betis winger Joaquin has revealed he snubbed the chance to join Chelsea during Jose Mourinho's first tenure at Stamford Bridge despite the Portuguese boss travelling to Spain to convince him to make the move. Now, almost 12 years later, the Spaniard admits he lost a massive opportunity to win titles and money but doesn't regret his decision.
The 34-years-old star was linked with both Real Madrid and the Blues back in 2004 after he broke though from the Betis youth ranks as one of the next big things to emerge from the Spanish academy. He played an even a bigger part with the national team in the 2002 World Cup despite being just a starlet. Joaquin, however, failed to progress as expected in the following years and continued his career in Valencia, Malaga and Fiorentina before deciding to return to Betis during the recent summer transfer window.
During an interview with El Decano Deportivo Joaquin has looked back at his long career ahead of his new La Liga debut with his childhood side. Asked if he still regrets snubbing the chance to join Chelsea in 2004, he said: "Not at all.
"And I had more than one chance to do it... I lost a significant opportunity, economically and sporting wise, to win titles or of being a much more important player. I know that but I don't regret it. My happiness at that time was not there, that's why I stayed."
And asked whether it is true Mourinho even went to Cadiz (where he lived) to persuade him, he said: "I think he did. I came from Madrid, after filming an advert with Mahou and they were waiting for me there."
"He wanted to see me but I said: 'If I go there, he's going to convince me', and leaving Betis never crossed my mind. That's why I never went to meet him. I made it clear to him over the phone. The next day, he came back and spoke to my father who told him: 'Mourinho, get back, because he's not leaving here.'
"In the final conversation I had with him he realized that was impossible because it never crossed my mind to leave, no matter all the money they offered me," Joaquin said. "He told me to come with him and I said: ' Jose, look, I don't think I'm going to be happy there and I prefer to stay.' I was in good form with Betis. I was 20 years old... If he'd come to me at a different moment in time, things would've undoubtedly been different."