Former Spain coach Luis Aragones, who led his country to glory at Euro 2008, has died at the age of 75, the Spanish Football Federation has announced.
Aragones had a long association with Atletico Madrid as a striker during his playing days, spending a decade at the club from 1964 to 1974, during which time he won three league titles. Born in Madrid, he also had lesser successful spells at Real Madrid and Getafe, and also appeared for Real Oviedo and Real Betis. His talent was also recognised on the international scene, winning 11 caps between 1964 and 1972.
His managerial career spanned 35 years, and at club level he won one league title and three Copa del Rey’s for Atletico, the latter tournament he also won at Barcelona in 1988. He had four separate spells at the Vicente Calderon, and as well as the Camp Nou, he could also count Espanyol, Sevilla and Valencia amongst the clubs he coached in his homeland, whilst his last role before retirement was a short one in Turkey with Fenerbahce.
But it was his time as head coach of the Spanish national side in which many will remember him for, although this started in controversy when, in 2004, he was caught on camera using racist language against France’s Thierry Henry. He overcame this incident to lead his country to success at Euro 2008, their first major title in 44 years.
Aragones is credited in some quarters as being the catalyst for the glory Spain have enjoyed in recent times, as they followed their success at the Euros with their first ever World Cup triumph, under Vicente del Bosque, four years later, and then they defended their European title in 2008. Indeed, Manchester United ace Juan Mata, who was involved in the latter two of these glories, posted on Twitter on Saturday morning: “He gave birth to the best Spanish football in history. Very sad news. He will always be remembered.”
A statement from the Spanish Football Federation read: “The [RFEF] wants to express its grief and shock at the death of Luis Aragones, former player and coach of several Spanish and global clubs and the Spain national team at the beginning of their glorious success on the worldwide stage. He died today in Madrid Clinic, where he had been admitted.”
Reports in Spain say Aragones was admitted to the Madrid clinic in the early hours of Saturday morning, but died soon after. Atletico, who have posted a tribute to their former coach on their official club website, will mark his death with a minutes’ silence before their clash against Real Sociedad on Sunday, when players will wear black armbands.