REAL MADRID | MANUEL VELÁZQUEZ 1943-2016
The last goodbye: respects paid for Manuel Velázquez
The former Real Madrid player was cremated after a service in which Spain’s football community gathered to say goodbye.
Spain’s football community paid their respects to Manuel Velázquez, one of Real Madrid’s most emblematic players who passed away aged 72 in Fuengirola yesterday. It was a sad day for the family of the man who was the brains behind the famous ‘yé-yé’ Madrid team of the 1960s – his wife Margarita Arbós and four children: Mónica, Eva, Víctor and Lolo; but some comfort was found in their grief by the respect and affection which those who knew him showed during today’s mass and funeral service. “Everyone loved him”, his wife said. Following the service, Velázquez was cremated and his ashes scattered in Fuengirola cemetery.
Real Madrid were represented by Director of Institutional Relations Emilio Butragueño, who was accompanied by legendary players, Amancio and Pirri. Other ex-players who attended included Paco Bonet, Paco Pineda and José Antonio Salguero. Butragueño spoke with admiration about the giant figure Velázquez was in the Madrid dressing room: “He won the sixth European Cup (in 1966 against Partizan) and he was a very important player for us who will always be in our hearts.The history of clubs is forged by players and he forms part of a wonderful history”.
Amancio added: “He was very technically-gifted – a pure and special player. He really caught the eye; we really enjoyed our football when we played with him”. Particularly saddened was Pirri, who said, “It’s a very sad day for me because I feel almost like I’ve lost a brother. Out on the pitch he was a fantastic and very elegant player”.
Málaga also paid tribute to Velázquez, who spent two seasons on loan at La Rosaleda (1963 - 1965), and in the second of which he helped the team gain promotion to the First Division. The southern port city was also where he met his wife. FC Barcelona also paid tribute to Velázquez and sent a wreath of flowers – a gesture which was greatly appreciated by the family.