RIP Luis Aragonés: Spanish Football Will Miss You
by Ines Barbosa
Feb 02, 2014 1:31 PM EST
Former Spain coach Luis Aragonés has died at the age of 75. He was reportedly battling leukemia. Aragonés dedicated 50 years of his life to football and is probably most remember for beginning Spain's recent run of success by winning the European Championship in 2008. The world will probably credit current head coach Vicente Del Bosque for Spain's success on the world stage, but the truth is that Aragonés was also vital for that team and his contribution shouldn't be forgotten. Aragonés was born in Madrid in 1938 and started his career as player at Getafe, when he was 19-years-old. In the years that followed, he played for Recreativo, Real Madrid, Hércules, Real Oviedo and Real Betis, until he transferred to Atlético Madrid in 1964 and spent the last (and best) 10 years of his career there. Even though he's best known as a coach, Aragonés was a very talented player. He's still the best-scoring midfielder that Atlético's team ever had. With that team, he conquered three Spanish League titles (1966, 1970 and 1973) and two Copa del Rey trophies (1965 and 1972), and right after he retired as a player, he became their head coach. The coach left after five years but later returned on three occasions, making him one of the most loved coaches in the history of the club - probably the most loved one ever, even if Diego Simeone has been giving him a run for his money now. Aragonés spent a few years at other Spanish club teams--like Real Betis, Barcelona, Espanyol, Sevilla, Valencia, Real Oviedo and Mallorca--and finally, in 2004 he assumed the command of the Spanish National Team and led Spain to win Euro 2008, his last of important victories. With the revealing nickname of "The Wise Man of Hortaleza", Aragonés will always be remembered by the pep talks he gave his team before games and was said to motivate them to do better and be better. He'll always be remembered for being the one who started building Spain's best team ever, by bringing players like Fernando Torres, Andrés Iniesta and Cesc Fàbregas, among others, which later revealed themselves crucial to so many wins.