Former Spain coach Luis Aragones (75) dies
Aragones led Spain to Euro 2008 title to start ‘glorious run of success’
Luis Aragones holds up the Euro 2008 trophy with team captain Iker Casillas.
Former coach Luis Aragones, the man who ended Spain’s 44-year wait for a major international title by winning Euro 2008 to spark a golden era for the team, has died at the age of 75.
He passed away on Saturday morning in the Centro de Madrid clinic in the Spanish capital after a battle with leukaemia, his family said in a statement.
The Spanish football association expressed its sorrow at the loss of the “Spain coach that started their glorious run of success in world football”.
Spain lifted the European Championship trophy in 1964 but for several decades after they were regarded as under-achievers.
Aragones changed that perception with his victory in 2008, creating the platform for more triumphs under Vicente del Bosque at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.
Spain beat Germany 1-0 in the final in Vienna six years ago, Fernando Torres scoring the winner in the 33rd minute.
“Without doubt he paved the way for this latest period that has been so successful. He had a lot of experience as a coach and personally I had a special affection for him,” said Del Bosque.
“I knew he had a health problem but I never imagined it would come to this. We will remember this day with a lot of sadness.”
Aragones realised the need to get rid of ageing players like Raul and Michel Salgado, creating a new playing style based on the short-passing football that was bringing success at Barcelona.
The often eccentric coach was derided at the start by the media for dropping the established big names before results started to improve.
Aragones chose to stand down after Euro 2008. He then spent one season coaching Turkish side Fenerbahce before leaving the job in 2009.