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It's official: Joaquin returns to Betis

The winger finally ends a month-long saga with a return to his childhood club. In unrelated news, Florence's collective blood pressure drops by 50%.

In happier times.
In happier times.
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

This Joaquin business is like getting a tooth pulled. You'd just gotten one yanked and thought you were okay to resume your diet Twinkies washed down with Mountain Dew: Violently Saccharine flavor, when suddenly, your dentist calls and delivers the news. It's another tooth that needs to come out. This time, you know how much it'll hurt, so you put it off and put it off until the last minute in the hopes that it will somehow get better and it never does. Instead, it just throws the rest of your life into various shades of pain, especially because the dentist doesn't have any fake teeth in stock right then, so that when you finally let the dentist do his thing, just getting it all over with is a relief.

So with Gioacchino. Bought for a laughably low price of 3 million euros. Although he gave hints of his quality, it was after the Juan Cuadrado's sale that he really began to demonstrate just how lethal he can be. While lacking the out and out pace of his youth, he nevertheless tormented opponents (while putting in a defensive shift) in his new wingback position, dazzling with his close control and ability to twist his way to the byline, cut past a defender, and deftly flick the ball through the box to an open teammate. For long swathes of last year, he was the best player on the team, an ageless wonder full of joy and mischief in a position that's supposed to be for flashy, pacey youngsters.

This offseason, everything looked rosy for el Matador. He'd finally moved into his preferred 7 shirt (inherited from the dearly departed David Pizarro) and was penciled in as the most experienced member of an attack featuring Giuseppe Rossi and up-and-comers Federico Bernardeschi and Khouma Babacar. It wasn't going to last, of course, because Joaquin had already proclaimed his intention to finish his career at boyhood club Real Betis, but he was signed through the rest of the season, with a club option for another year. Life was good.

This is Fiorentina; things fall apart. In this case, Joaquin decided he wanted to go back to Spain a month before the transfer window closed. He'd already taken a shirt and participated in the preseason (and scored a cracking goal), but it seems the draw for home was too much for him to resist. After some rather unflattering behavior from the player and some low-ball offers from the Spanish club, Joaquin has signed a three-year contract and is officially a Verdiblanco again.

His final numbers from his stint in Florence are 71 appearances, 7 goals, and 13 assists, along with countless figurative pantsings of defenders. Goodbye, Joaquin. I won't say we wish you the best, because you treated us pretty badly there towards the end, but we'll always have that Milan game.