Luis Aragonés

This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Aragonés and the second or maternal family name is Suárez.
Luis Aragonés

Aragonés in July 2008
Personal information
Full name Luis Aragonés Suárez
Date of birth (1938-07-28)28 July 1938
Place of birth Hortaleza, Madrid, Spain
Date of death 1 February 2014(2014-02-01) (aged 75)
Place of death Fuencarral-El Pardo, Madrid, Spain
Playing position Midfielder[1][2][3]
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1957–1958 Getafe
1958–1960 Real Madrid 0 (0)
1958–1959Recreativo Huelva (loan)
1959–1960Hércules (loan) 24 (17)
1960Plus Ultra (loan) 8 (11)
1960–1961 Oviedo 13 (4)
1961–1964 Betis 86 (33)
1964–1974 Atlético Madrid 265 (123)
National team
1964–1972 Spain 11 (3)
Teams managed
1974–1980 Atlético Madrid
1981 Betis
1982–1987 Atlético Madrid
1987–1988 Barcelona
1990–1991 Espanyol
1991–1993 Atlético Madrid
1993–1995 Sevilla
1995–1997 Valencia
1997–1998 Betis
1999–2000 Oviedo
2000–2001 Mallorca
2001–2003 Atlético Madrid
2003–2004 Mallorca
2004–2008 Spain
2008–2009 Fenerbahçe

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

José Luis Aragonés Suárez (Spanish pronunciation: [xoˈse ˈlwis aɾaɣoˈnes ˈswaɾeθ]; 28 July 1938 – 1 February 2014) was a Spanish footballer and manager. He coached the Spain national team to victory at UEFA Euro 2008.

Aragonés spent the majority of his career as a player and coach at Atlético Madrid. He was a prominent player and then coach of the successful Atlético team of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The team were national champions four times, reached the 1974 European Cup Final and won the Intercontinental Cup. Between 1964 and 1974, he played 265 Primera Liga games for Atlético and scored 123 goals. He also played for several other clubs, including Real Madrid, and played 11 times for Spain, scoring three goals.

Apart from Atlético he also coached seven other La Liga clubs as well as the Spain national team, whom he led to their second European Championship title in 2008. He then became the head coach of the Turkish club Fenerbahçe after the tournament, the sole time that he coached outside of his native Spain. He died on 1 February 2014 aged 75.[7]

Playing career

Early career

Aragonés began his playing career with CD Getafe in 1957[8] and that was also where he picked up his nickname "the elf". In 1958, he signed for Real Madrid but never made it into the senior team. He spent most of his time at Real Madrid on loan to other clubs, including Recreativo de Huelva and Hércules and playing for AD Plus Ultra, the Real Madrid reserve team. In 1960, he joined Real Oviedo and made his debut in the Primera División. Between 1961 and 1964, he played for Real Betis, making 86 league appearances and scoring 33 goals.

Atlético Madrid

In 1964, Aragonés was signed by Atlético Madrid where he acquired the nickname "Zapatones", meaning "big boots", since he was known as a free kick specialist.[9] Aragonés picked up silverware in his first season at the club, winning the Copa del Rey (then known as the Copa del Generalísimo). He then helped Atlético to the La Liga title in 1965–66[10] and again in 1969–70, where he shared the Pichichi trophy for the highest scorer in the league[11] with his fellow Atlético forward José Eulogio Gárate and Real Madrid's Amancio. A second Copa followed in 1973 and the team achieved a third league title in 1973–74. The following year, Atlético reached the final of the European Cup played against German champions Bayern Munich. During the match, Aragonés scored a goal late in extra time to give Atlético a 1–0 lead.[12] A 119th-minute equaliser from Georg Schwarzenbeck, however, sent the final to a replay, where Bayern prevailed with a convincing 4–0 victory.[13] His retirement followed soon after and he was appointed Atlético coach for the first time in the same year. To date, Aragonés remains Atlético's all-time top goalscorer and is seventh in the club's all-time appearance list.


Aragonés made his international debut for Spain on 8 May 1965 in a 0–0 friendly draw away to Scotland. The first of his three goals for Spain was in a friendly against France in Lyon, in a 3–1 win on his seventh cap on 17 October 1968. He captained the side for the sole time on his 10th of 11 caps, a 3–0 win over Northern Ireland in Seville on 11 November 1970 in qualification for UEFA Euro 1972. He scored in the match.[14]

Managerial career

Spanish clubs

In his first season in charge at Atlético Madrid, Aragonés led Atlético to success over two legs in the 1974 Intercontinental Cup, where the team beat Copa Libertadores winners Independiente of Argentina 2–1 on aggregate. Atlético went on to claim the Copa del Generalísimo and La Liga title in 1976 and 1977 respectively.[15]

After six years in charge of Atlético, Aragonés took over at Real Betis in 1981. His time in Andalusia, however, was brief and he returned to the Vicente Calderón in 1982. In his second spell at the club, his Atlético side came close to achieving a historic double during the 1984–85 season, winning the Copa del Rey and finishing runner-up in La Liga. The following season, the team reached the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup, where it was beaten 3–0 by Dynamo Kyiv.[16]

Aragonés' success saw him appointed as manager of Barcelona in 1987, where he spent one season, winning the Copa del Rey.[17] He then spent a season at fellow Barcelona based club Espanyol before rejoining Atlético for a third spell, where he won the sixth Copa del Rey of his career in 1992.

After leaving the club for a third time in 1993, he went on to coach Sevilla, Valencia, Real Betis, Real Oviedo and Mallorca.[18] His biggest success during this period was coming within four points of winning the 1995–96 La Liga title with Valencia.[19]

In 2001, with the club in the Segunda División, Aragonés took over at Atlético for a fourth time and led the team to promotion back to the Primera División as champions in the 2001–02 season.[20] He left the club for the final time in 2003 and remains its most successful manager with eight trophies won.[17]

Aragonés returned to Mallorca on 2 October of the 2003–04 season, after the dismissal of Jaime Pacheco for a poor start to the season.[21] He steered the club to 11th by the end of the season.[22] On 1 July 2004, he took the job of Spain national team after Iñaki Sáez resigned due to public disapproval for failing to qualify the team from the group stage at UEFA Euro 2004.[23]

Spanish national football team

Spanish players celebrating in Madrid after victory at Euro 2008 under Aragonés

On taking over the national team, Aragonés made changes to the team, dropping experienced players such as Míchel Salgado and Raúl. He also employed Tiki-taka, a system of short passing which subsequently would also be identified with the playing style of Barcelona.[24] Spain were unbeaten in qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup under Aragonés, but finished as group runner-up to Serbia and Montenegro,[25] and thus required a play-off against Slovakia to secure their place. Spain won the play-off 6–2 on aggregate,[26] with Luis García scoring a hat-trick in the first-leg 5–1 win.[27] At the finals, Spain won all three group games before facing France in the Second Round. After taking the lead through David Villa, they lost 3–1 following goals from Franck Ribéry, Patrick Vieira and Zinedine Zidane.[28]

Aragonés stayed on as manager and presided over the following qualifications for the European Championship. The initial phase of the qualifiers started on a poor note with a 3–2 defeat to Northern Ireland and a 2–0 defeat to Sweden both away from home, a pair of results that put tremendous pressure on Aragonés' position.[29] Spain recovered strongly to seal a ticket as group winners ahead of Sweden that also qualified directly to the tournament, while Denmark missed out.

Aragonés then presided over Spain's victorious campaign at Euro 2008, beating Germany 1–0 in the final with a goal from Fernando Torres for their first international honour since 1964.[30] Aragonés had a superstitious fear of the colour yellow, and referred to Spain's change kit for the semi-final match against Russia as "mustard" and not "yellow".[31]

His Tiki-taka style of play was retained by his successor, Vicente del Bosque, who led Spain to further tournament victories.[24]


After denying an approach in late June,[32] Aragonés replaced Zico as manager of Turkish Süper Lig club Fenerbahçe on 5 July 2008. He signed a two-year deal and declared his intention to win the league title in his first season.[33] The club, however, finished in fourth, and he was dismissed on 2 June 2009 after the season had ended.[34]



Atlético Madrid


Atlético Madrid

Thierry Henry controversy

In 2004, Aragonés was appointed coach of Spain. During a training session in the same year, a Spanish TV crew filmed Aragonés making offensive references to José Antonio Reyes about Reyes' black Arsenal teammate, Thierry Henry, saying:

Tell that black shit that you are much better than him. Don't hold back, tell him. Tell him from me. You have to believe in yourself, you're better than that black shit.[35]

The incident caused uproar in the British media with calls for Aragonés to be sacked or suspended of his duties, saying that "his offence has not been deemed serious enough to warrant a suspension of his duties, or his sacking" [36][37] an investigation into the events during the match, UEFA fined the Royal Spanish Football Federation 100,000 Swiss francs/US$87,000 and warned that any future incidents would be punished more severely. UEFA noted that possible punishments could include suspension from major international tournaments or the closure of Spain's home international matches to supporters.

In response to this, Aragonés said in public that he was not a racist, and claimed that he had black friends. Brazilian-born black midfielder Marcos Senna stated:

"He is not a racist. Aragonés is a spectacular person. [Former Spain defender] Donato, who is black, is one of his best friends. Maybe something escaped, a word, and he was misinterpreted. He helped a lot bringing me to the Spain team, and the fact people thought he was racist was minimised by the fact he called me. I see the way he treats me and how he likes me. 'He calls me "The Brazilian". Sometimes I take a free-kick in training and he shouts, "Hey Brazilian, don't take it that way, hit a folha seca [falling leaf] like Nelinho [scorer of a World Cup goal in 1978]." He is a surprising guy, because he is really serious, but then he comes with jokes. The guys adore Aragonés."[38]

Aragonés later criticised England's colonial past in the build-up to a match between the two national teams in November 2004 which was also overshadowed by racist abuse aimed at non-white English players.[39]


Aragonés died on 1 February 2014 at 6.15am in Clínica CEMTRO hospital in Madrid, from leukemia.[40][41][42][43][44]

The Royal Spanish Football Federation released a statement of "grief and shock" at the death of the man who was the coach at "the start of its most glorious era of successes on the world stage".[45] Diego Simeone, incumbent manager of Atlético Madrid, spoke on the day of Aragonés' death, saying, "From here I want to send a very strong message to his family. Everyone at Atletico is hurting at the loss of such an important part of the club and for the Spanish football."[46]

His funeral was held on 2 February in Madrid with the attendance including Spanish players Carles Puyol, Cesc Fàbregas, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi.[47][48] He was buried in the cemetery of La Paz in Alcobendas.[49]

At the 2014 UEFA Champions League Final, Atlético Madrid wore shirts with Aragonés' name written in gold on the inside of the collar.[50]

See also


  1. "Goodbye to Aragones, long live tiki-taka". ESPN. 2 February 2014.
  2. "Former Spain coach Aragones dies". Global Times. 1 February 2014.
  3. "Former Spain coach Luis Aragones dies at 75". Deutsche Welle. 1 February 2014.
  4. "Luis Aragonés Is Dead at 75; Coached Spain to Prominence". The New York Times. 2 February 2014.
  5. "Former Spain coach Aragones dies at 75". The Jakarta Post. 1 February 2014.
  6. "Remembering Luis Aragones". FIFA. 1 February 2014.
  7. "Luis Aragones, who led Spain to victory at Euro 2008, dies aged 75". The Daily Telegraph. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  8. Gary Morley (1 February 2014). "Luis Aragones: Spain mourns the loss of 'tiki taka' master". CNN. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  9. "Tiki-taka founder Luis Aragones dies aged 78". Irish Independent. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  10. Peter Jenson (1 February 2014). "'Big Boots' Aragones was the father figure who transformed Spain... but memory is still soured by racist jibe at Henry". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  11. "Luis Aragones, of famed tiki taka dies, aged 75". Zee News. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  12. "Luis Aragones: Coach of the European Championship participant Spain". Continental AG. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  13. "Former Spain coach Luis Aragones dies aged 75". Today. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  15. J. F. Borrell (1 February 2014). "Luis Aragonés: Atlético icon, legend and history maker". Marca. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  16. "World Soccer about FC Dynamo Kyiv 1986 great team". FC Dynamo Kyiv. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  17. 1 2 "Luis Aragones dies: Former Spain coach passes away aged 75". The Independent. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  18. "Luis Aragonés dies". FC Barcelona. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  19. "El Valencia CF, de luto por el fallecimiento de Luis Aragonés" [Valencia CF mourns the death of Luis Aragonés]. Deporte Valenciano. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  20. "Former Spain coach Luis Aragones, who led La Roja to Euro 2008 triumph, dies aged 75". Daily Mirror. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  21. "Luis Aragonés, nuevo entrenador del Mallorca (Luis Aragonés, Mallorca's new manager)". Diario AS. 12 October 2003. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  22. "2003/04 Spanish Primera División Table". ESPN. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  23. "Luis Aragonés, elegido nuevo seleccionador nacional en sustitución de Iñaki Sáez (Luis Aragonés chosen as new national coach in place of Iñaki Sáez)". El País. 1 July 2004. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  24. 1 2 "Luis Aragones: Former Spain manager dies aged 75". BBC Sport. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  25. "World Cup 2006 Qualifying". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  26. "Slovakia 1 – 1 Spain". ESPN. 16 November 2005. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  27. "Spain 5 – 1 Slovakia". BBC Sport. 12 November 2005. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  28. "Spain 1–3 France". BBC Sport. 27 June 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  29. "Sweden too strong for sorry Spain". 8 October 2006. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  30. Winter, Henry (30 June 2008). "Fernando Torres' strike wins Euro 2008 for Spain to leave Germany empty handed". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  31. Hunter, Graham (1 February 2013). "Casillas charts Spain's rise". UEFA. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  32. "Aragones denies Fenerbahce deal". BBC Sport. 25 June 2008. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  33. "Aragones named Fenerbahce coach". BBC Sport. 5 July 2008. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  34. Brown, Lucas (2 June 2009). "Luis Aragones' departure from Fenerbahce has been confirmed by the Turkish club...". Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  35. Sid Lowe (7 October 2004). "Spain coach in mire over Henry jibe". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  38. Castles, Duncan (29 June 2008). "Senna steals show". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  39. "Rio Ferdinand condemns 'feeble punishments' for racist fans". BBC Sport. 19 November 2004. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  40. "Muere Luis Aragonés, el sabio del fútbol español, a los 75 años por una leucemia" (in Spanish). RTVE. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  41. "Former Spain coach Aragones dies". Al Jazeera. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  42. "Luis Aragonés obituary". The Guardian. 4 February 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  43. "Luis Aragonés, former Spain coach, dies aged 75". Euronews. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  44. "Luis Aragones, former Spain coach who led team to Euro 2008 title, dies at 75". Fox News Channel. Associated Press. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  45. "La RFEF lamenta el fallecimiento de Luis Aragonés (The Spanish FA mourns the death of Luis Aragonés)". RFEF. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  46. "He leaves great memories shared with him from moments of life and football". Atlético Madrid. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  47. "Puyol, Fabregas and Xavi attend Aragones' funeral as Spain mourns former manager". Daily Mail. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  48. "Built like a bull, with a bear-like attitude, Aragones will be sorely missed in Spain". Daily Mail. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  49. "Último adiós a Luis Aragonés [Final farewell to Luis Aragonés]" (in Spanish). Spain national football team. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  50. Aznar, Luis (22 May 2014). "El Atlético llevará el nombre de Luis Aragones en las camisetas de la final [Atlético will wear the name of Luis Aragonés in their shirts for the final]". Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 22 May 2014.
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