The world of football is in mourning after the death earlier today of Spanish coaching legend Luis Aragonés at the age of 75.
'The Wise Man of Hortaleza', as Aragonés was widely known, is above all remembered for leading Spain to glory at UEFA EURO 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, the nation's first major tournament win since 1964. That landmark triumph proved a springboard for further success, with the Roja going on to win the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2012 under Vicente del Bosque.
Reacting to the news, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) commented: "[We] would like to express our pain and consternation following the death of a man who was a player and a coach in many clubs both here in Spain and elsewhere and who also led the Spanish national team at the beginning of their most glorious period at world level. Luis Aragonés – from Madrid – took Spain to victory at the 2008 European Championship. He passed today at the Clínica Centro de Madrid."
Aragonés's playing career began in 1957 with Club Getafe Deportivo and during the subsequent 17 years took in spells at teams such as Real Oviedo, Real Betis Balompié and, in particular, Club Atlético de Madrid, where he spent the majority of his career.
It was at Atlético where he won three Liga titles and lifted the Copa del Rey twice, and where he also contested the 1974 European Champion Clubs' Cup final against FC Bayern München. Los Colchoneros lost in a replay two days after Aragónes had netted in an initial 1-1 draw between the teams.
As a coach, Aragonés's vast career was marked early on by success at the Atlético helm, where he clinched the Liga in 1977 and also added Intercontinental Cup and Copa del Rey trophies. He coached a number of other Spanish clubs as well, including FC Barcelona from 1987 to 1988, but it was with Spain that he experienced his greatest victory, taking over in 2004 and leading the Roja to UEFA EURO 2008 triumph following a 1-0 win against Germany in the final.
Several distinguished figures within Spain have been offering their tributes and condolences:
Ángel María Villar, RFEF president
He will always be remembered as a man who was a great footballer, a world class coach and a successful national manager. Luis Aragonés was a role model in Spanish football.
Vicente del Bosque, Spain coach
Without a doubt, he laid the foundations for this highly successful era. He had vast experience as a coach and, personally, I thought very highly of him.
Enrique Cerezo, Club Atlético de Madrid president
Above all, he was an Atlético man. On behalf of the club, I would like to offer our condolences to his family. Luis Aragonés was a great player and coach, but more importantly he was a great person and a friend.
Iker Casillas, Real Madrid CF goalkeeper and Spain captain
One of the most influential people in my professional career. Thank you for everything 'gaffer'.
David Villa, Club Atlético de Madrid and Spain forward
It is a very sad day. We have lost one of the greats. Thank you for making me who I am.
Xabi Alonso, Real Madrid CF and Spain midfielder
We have lost one of the greats, it is a very sad day. His personality affected so many people's lives.
Fernando Torres, Chelsea FC and Spain forward
Thank you, boss. I will never be able to thank you enough for everything you did for me.
Cesc Fàbregas, FC Barcelona and Spain player
We have lost a person who greatly affected both my professional career and me as a person. Thank you for everything.
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