Real Betis winger Joaquin has revealed he doesn’t “regret” snubbing a high-profile move to Chelsea in Jose Mourinho’s first tenure at Stamford Bridge.
The 34-year-old, who returned to his first club Betis last month, has said Mourinho made a personal visit to see him, which he snubbed, in Spain in 2004 to try and convince him to make the move to the Premier League. And despite acknowledging, almost 12 year later, that it was a missed opportunity to win silverware and make himself a rich man in London, he says he doesn’t regret his decision.
During an interview with El Decano Deportivo, Joaquin reflected on his La Liga career and when asked if he still regrets snubbing the chance to join Chelsea, 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.”
The former Spain international also confirmed Mourinho’s trip to Cadiz, where he lived at the time, to try and convince him to sign for the west Londoners.
“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 realised that was impossible because it never crossed my mind to leave, no matter all the money they offered me.
“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.”