Soccer-Betis midfielder Joaquin signs new deal at almost 40

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: La Liga Santander - Real Betis v Atletico Madrid

(Reuters) - Real Betis captain Joaquin has signed a new one-year deal, the the Seville-based club announced on Monday, which ensures he will be playing La Liga football into his 40s.

Joaquin, who turns 40 in July, made his debut for his boyhood club Betis at 19 in 2000 before joining Valencia six years later. He also had spells with Malaga and Fiorentina before returning in 2015.

He is second on the all-time list of appearances in Spain's top flight having played 579 games, behind former Barcelona goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta (622), and will be the only player from the 2002 World Cup still playing in La Liga next season.

Far from playing a minor role as a club ambassador, the winger was an integral part of the team for manager Manuel Pellegrini last term, making 30 appearances in all competitions as Betis finished sixth to secure Europa League football.

(Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Ken Ferris)