Real Betis winger Joaquin has admitted regrets over never playing for Real Madrid during his long career, ahead of the Champions League winners' visit to Benito Villamarin stadium on Saturday (15 October). The former Spain international revealed that as well as a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu early in his career, he was also the subject of an audacious swoop from Jose Mourinho to bring him to Chelsea.
The 35-year-old forward broke through as a teenager in La Liga during the early 2000s, and was the standout player for Spain during their run to the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup.
In the summer of 2004 he was the subject of a transfer battle between Real Madrid and Chelsea. However, neither move came to fruition with the Blues instead signing Arjen Robben.
Joaquin stayed at Real Betis before moving to Valencia two years later. He had spells at Malaga and Fiorentina before returning to his childhood club in 2015.
The veteran winger is ready for Real Madrid on Saturday and opened up about his missed opportunity with the La Liga giants in an interview with Cope. He revealed that Los Blancos even blocked a move to Chelsea when former sporting director Jorge Valdano told him to turn down a move to Stamford Bridge so he could switch to Spain's capital instead.
"I had chances to play for Real Madrid. It is one of the teams that when I started to look back at my career I think I could have played for them. Because when you have no options you don't think about it, but I had the options, and one always dreams of playing for one of the big ones," Joaquin recalled.
"There were different moments. I remember when Mourinho came to lure me to Chelsea and te Valdano told me not to do anything because there was already an agreement [for me to join Real Madrid]. But at then end Florentino Perez didn't reach an agreement with (former Betis president Manuel Ruiz de Lopera). I was 21 or 22 years-old and then you think that you are missing chances ,but I cannot complain about my career. I have played the team that have given me everything, Betis, and then I played wherever I wanted."