Heerenveen presents successor Botman: ‘Most important day of my life’


It is official: SC Heerenveen has strengthened with Joaquín Fernández. The 21-year-old defender comes from the Uruguayan Club Atlético River Plate.

Heerenveen announced Fernández’s arrival on Thursday, one day after the confirmation from Uruguay. The defender signs a contract until mid-2023 in the Abe Lenstra Stadium, where a vacancy had arisen due to the departure of Sven Botman. He has since been sold by Ajax to Lille OSC.

Fernández is a left-footed central defender, who played for Uruguay U20 three times. In addition to the Uruguayan nationality, he also has an Italian passport, which saves Heerenveen a non-EU salary. Fernández immediately joins the training on Thursday. “This is the most important day of my life,” he is quoted in his presentation by the Leeuwarder Courant.

“Everyone knows that we were looking for a left-back central defender. Through our network we ended up at Joaquin,” responds technical manager Gerry Hamstra. “He is a strong and footballing defender who has the right aggression. We are happy that he chose to join his European adventure with us.”

Interestingly enough, Fernandez had previously been active in Europe, but then as a basketball player. In 2015, he moved to Athens for a basketball career. The following year he switched to football at Defensor Sporting. Fernández has been under contract with Atlético River Plate since 2018.


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