An emotional Joaquín Caparrós spoke at his Hall of Fame ceremony on Tuesday. His speech was as follows:
"I am a coach. And being the type of coach that I am I always want to prepare as best as I can for the big occasions. I've tried to prepare myself for this moment. I've tried to visualise everything I was going to experience today. But I'll be honest, it's impossible to prepare for this. This is my club, the club that I love, the club that my father taught me to love. Being inducted to the Hall of Fame... wow, it's special. It is an emotional day and a day to look up to the sky. There I imagine my father, looking over the Gol Sur stand. My father made me a Sevilla fan during the era of the great Paco Gallego, deserving of his Hall of Fame status. We also had Manolito Ruiz Sosa and Ignacio Achúcarro, from whom I still have a signed photo. My love for Sevilla is all because of my father.
Whilst being young and admiring my friend Pablo Blano, I went to Camas to trial with Betis. Yes, that's right, Betis! And they wanted me. When I arrived home, my father told me that if I were to be a footballer, I had to play for Sevilla. An absolute non-negotiable. Thanks to his insistence, I ended up with Sevilla and even played a match with Pepe García's children. I treasure the picture from that day as a memory.
Just like you would have wanted, Dad, you have seen me at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán coaching our beloved Sevilla FC! The team that we have always followed and loved, both when we were here and in Madrid, having moved for your work. I will always remember those long and emotional afternoons watching Carrusel Deportivo with Juan Tribuna. I also look up and see my mother, Carmen, and my brother Antonio, who took me to coach Sevilla at the Marqués del Contadero. I also see some other very special people, for example Roberto Alés, who gave me the opportunity to coach Sevilla. Roberto, you were much more than just a president to me. I will never ever forget you, and neither will I forget those people who were at the meeting in the Los Quinteros restaurant - Pepe Castro, Augusto Lahore and Juan Maraver, all three of which are here today. And of course that first board meeting in the year 2000 where I was welcomed so warmly. Looking up to the sky again, I see those two left-wingers who I gave their debuts to before they went on to represent Spain - Antonio Puerta and José Antonio Reyes. Both will belong to Sevilla eternally. Curro, my dear friend, we will never forget Utrera's best ever player. Never, ever.
"As I've always said, I bleed white and red"
I'll be honest, my dream wasn't to be a coach, my dream was to be a footballer at Sevilla FC. I had to leave the club when my family moved to Madrid, but what many people don't know is that when I was at Real Madrid as a youngster, everything was in place, through my father, for me to return to Sevilla under Santos Bedoya. As fate would have it, just before returning home, in my last game with Leganés, on loan from Madrid, I broke my knee in Zamora. There, my longing to be a player since I bought my first boots in Deportes Arza was shattered forever, so then I became a coach. There were many obstacles I had to come through before arriving at Sevilla FC and everywhere I went, I lived experiences that helped me to reach and, more importantly, stay in the elite. Coaching Sevilla FC, for me, was the greatest thing that could happen to me. However, to be the coach with the most games in charge of Sevilla, to have qualified for Europe four times and to enter the Hall of Fame, to be in the company of Manolo Cardo, is much more than a dream come true. You are the benchmark, Manolo, I will always admire you. I have always said it and I will always say it... I bleed white and red.
As a coach, I always wanted all the players who wore this shirt to feel that same passion, that same commitment to our crest. I see many of you sitting here and I feel proud of what we achieved in one of the most complicated periods in the history of our club. We went from the Segunda to Europe in five wonderful years, and what great characters that team had! We were a gang on and off the pitch, a team of warriors, a team that never gave up, that always went forward. With the permission of my first captain, Pepe Prieto, I would like to make special mention of my captains, Pablo [Alfaro] and Javi [Navarro], that centre-back partnership who defined an era and who nurtuned the man who would go on to become the best centre-back in the history of Spanish football, Mr Sergio Ramos. How proud I am to see you back at home, Sergio, our golden boy, our world champion. I have mentioned to Pablo and Javi, but I cannot forget many other protagonists of that Sevilla team that, perhaps unlike any other, represented caste and courage: David, Aitor, Pepe Prieto, Pepe Martí, Javi Casquero, Nico Olivera, Antonio Notario, Julio Baptista, Daniel Alves, Renato, Moisés, Mariano Toedtli, Redondo, Paquito Gallardo, Antoñito, Darío Silva, Jaime, Pichón, Domingo Pérez, may he rest in peace... and many more who are here with us today. We were a real family. You proved it to me in the most critical moments, like in that match at Camp Nou when we had already been relegated, yet managed to beat FC Barcelona 0-3. Plus many, many more.
“Jesús still gets up and down the touchline like he did when he crossed it in for Paco Gallardo in Montjuic 20 years ago”
I must also mention the central figure of José María del Nido Benavente, as once he took the reins he was the one who helped me through difficult situations. José María and the board laid the foundations for the jump in quality that helped us establish ourselves in Europe, before later conquering all before us and becoming the kings of the Europa League. In the same breath, I can’t forget Monchi, with whom we worked hand in hand to consolidate Sevilla’s position as a club of European royalty in the 21st century. And, of course, I want to thank Jesús Navas, the second World Champion to whom I gave his debut… Jesusito, our captain and record-breaker. Today is Jesús’ 38th birthday and he’s here with me. I can’t explain how grateful I am. Jesús still gets up and down the touchline like he did when he crossed it in for Paco Gallardo in Montjuic 20 years ago. Jesús is a pillar of the club with limitless energy and who continues to win trophies with Sevilla as well as with the national team. Jesús, you’re the pride of all sevillistas and to have had the pleasure of being a part of just a small percentage of your illustrious career is something that makes me immensely proud.
The hardest day of my five-year spell in charge here was, as you will imagine, the goodbye. I was simply incapable of reading the goodbye letter I had written because I was so emotional. Even though I did feel it was time to start a new chapter, the fact that I was so convinced it was the right moment to move on made leaving the club, which is my home, extremely overwhelming. Football took me elsewhere to other clubs. First, to Deportivo. I remember when we [Deportivo] came here in November 2005 and even though we won 0-2, the whole stadium, my stadium, showed me a huge amount of love. I’ll never forget that. It’s something you remember forever. It was always that way, even when I took Athletic to their first final in more than 20 years, beating that incredible Sevilla side that included Kanouté and Luis Fabiano in the process, at the old San Mamés. Here at Sevilla, I will always feel at home even when with a visiting side. Of course, with this in mind, I also felt sevillista through and through whenever I visited the stadium of our eternal and greatest rival, where I enjoyed so many moments as a manager. It was ecstasy.
On president José Castro: "My journey with Sevilla FC would have been impossible without you"
The way things turned out, I never thought I would be able to return to coach Sevilla FC, but in the spring of 2018, José Castro Carmona opened the door once again. Having approached me on Paseo de Consolación in 2000 and proposed that I meet Roberto Alés, brought me home again. Pepe, my career at Sevilla FC without you would have been impossible... thank you from the bottom of my heart. Sevilla FC was going through a bad time, Sevilla FC needed me... and I couldn't let them down. We recovered from a difficult situation and the following year I again made myself available when I was asked to become sporting director. I again said 'yes' when asked to return to the dugout at the end of the 2018/19 season, when we managed to qualify for Europe and do what I always liked the most as a coach: winning the derby. I lived those last adventures with my beloved Carlitos Marchena and Paco Gallardo. Yes, yes, Carlos Marchena, our other world champion. And of course, Pablo, another legend of our club. Could one be in better company? Speaking of company... Here I am today, on this great day, on this unforgettable day, with my wife Rosa, with my sons, Darío, Adrián, Carlos and Borja, with my granddaughter Adriana and my grandson Carlitos.
I am so proud to receive this honour. I have been asked a few times if I have a thorn in my side for not having won a major trophy with my Sevilla FC... I would have loved to have done it, but nobody should be confused: the greatest trophy I ever received was given to me by my father... becoming a sevillista. Whatever happens, this will always be Sevilla FC. And as I've said before, at Sevilla, we never surrender! Thank you very much and long live Sevilla!"