Amancio Amaro, pure spectacle

La Opinión de A Coruña, from the Prensa Ibérica group, dedicated this article to the former soccer player in 2016 on the occasion of the 110th anniversary of the Real Club Deportivo.

I loved soccer. My illusion was to play and play“. The echoes of the irruptions of Luis Suárez, Manolo Lechuga or the more fleeting one of Rodolfo Rábade still resounded and in the city there was already talk of a boy who was a regular at the “rellenado de San Diego” and who had grown up among the San Luis and Vizcaya streets. It was Amancio Amaro (1939). The ceiling of her was unimaginable. The son of a fruit vendor and a painter, he took his first steps in the Victoria de Santa Lucía. From that team with a perennial taste for good football and, together with Jaime Blanco, ended up making the leap to Deportivo. Another example of the Coruña player. One of the best. But this one was different: direct, spectacular, not just fine, pumping and plastic. There are those who see two thin lines in the history of this saga. One that unites Ramón González and Amancio Amaro, and another that puts Chacho and Luis Suárez, Lechuga or Carlos Pellicer on the same level. The reality is that A Coruña had just given birth to another unrepeatable footballer, who It would mark an era in world football. The decades of the sixties and seventies were his, at Deportivo, at Real Madrid and in Europe.

The last name Amaro was not unknown to the A Coruña fans. His uncle, Norberto, better known as Chato, had played in the Riazor stadium at the end of the forties. Celta had to love his nephew for Deportivo to decide to sign an already well-known footballer in the city’s grassroots football. In the field of the Farm they could attest to his skills. “It is true that they wanted me in Vigo. I don’t know if Deportivo tried to hire me before or something like that, but at least I had no proof of it when I was 15 or 16 years old. Honestly, at the time, I didn’t care. He was a child and he only wanted to have fun playing soccer, like anyone of that age, ”he admits today in the first person. They almost took him away after a match for the Galician team. It was not so. His incisive football would end up reaching Riazor at the end of the 50s. In 1958 he was already in the first team. He made his debut with Eduardo Toba and was consolidated by Hilario Marrero, one of the benchmarks in blue and white history, the same one who had devised the Victoria that raised him. In the end, Amancio Amaro, one of the few that did not pass through Rodrigo’s hands, had beginnings closely related to the canary. Quality football and punch. Vertical. A show.

When he was signed by Real Madrid, Amancio ended up bringing his position closer to the opposite goal, but in A Coruña he also swelled to score goals. About fifty in two years, almost thirty in the last. Real Madrid did not take long to knock on his door. He had spent almost five years as a blue and white with Deportivo in Second Division. His last service was to leave the team from his city in the First Division. They could only achieve it when he and his partner, Veloso, reached their ceiling as sportsmen. Both would coincide in Real Madrid, along with a third member of that team: Jaime Blanco. “Veloso was a very quick and skillful striker.” More than fifty years have passed, but Amancio perfectly x-rays his companion in fatigues in a historic campaign in Riazor. A year earlier they had already scored more than forty goals with the man from Santiago as top scorer. That season, 61-62, they would repeat figures, but the Coruña native remembers with pride the 27 goals he scored. The pichichi stayed at home. They passed it from one to the other and with the prize that Deportivo returned to the First Division five years later. It was Ochoa’s project, the team of Aurre, Manín, Pegaso… They were promoted in the Indautxu field and the party at the Hotel Vizcaya in Bilbao was tremendous. Arriving at the Marina, even bigger, truly tremendous. There was Amancio. It was the true legacy of him. The return to the elite came as a logical consequence after a stratospheric season in which many remember his match against Burgos at the Riazor stadium (6-1 and four goals) or in Gijón with a brace (2-4 ). “It was very nice to play in my city’s team. The illusion was enormous for a young man like me and we were there to achieve promotion”, he points out in the first person plural to minimize importance in that feat. His personal merits at Dépor led him to a shortlist of players for the 1962 World Cup in Chile, from which he fell out at the last minute, and to sign for Real Madrid. Being still a Second Division player hurt him to debut in the great planetary event.

The money they offered was good, but it was not easy to get out”. Amancio went to the capital that summer when he was supposed to be in South America. He launched an unhealthy custom in Dépor in the sixties. The Coruña team always ended up billing their stars in exchange for a few coins. Veloso, Jaime Blanco, Pellicer, Manolete… Many followed their path later with different destinations. Of course, the club always started resisting and, as a result of his belligerent attitude in the negotiation for Amancio, his transfer became a record for the time. Amaro was targeted in exchange for 12 million pesetas, the rights of Miche and the transfers of Ruiz, Betancort and Cebrián (the latter did not wear blue and white). Sevilla, Oviedo and even Barça had wanted him. “I met at the Hotel Atlántico with Mr. Tamburini (a textile businessman who did business for the culé club and who had already taken Luis Suárez and Moll), but in the end the possibility of Madrid arose.” He went to the capital to make history with all the shirts he wore. He arrived at a Real Madrid halftime and won the 1964 Euro Cup in a Spanish National Team with a strong Galician component. He, Luis Suárez, Marcelino, Reija… Two years later he captained the Real Madrid team that won the sixth European Cup after the withdrawal of Alfredo Di Stéfano and with Veloso again at his side. He kept scoring goals, now at the highest level. Close to 200 in his entire career. His football did not stop providing great afternoons at the Bernabéu when the eighties were even on the horizon. He retired in 1976 and immediately joined the Madrid coaching staff and structure. He has held different positions at all levels, including as coach of Castilla and the first team in the genesis of the Quinta del Buitre. His responsibility is part of the first white UEFA, although that season was culminated by Molowny. Amancio has lived in Madrid since he was hired by the Chamartín team, although he has not completely lost his link with A Coruña. It is quite common to see him every summer on a getaway or on various institutional visits. Where he is a fixture is in Sada. Family ties unite him with this town of As Mariñas. He was one of the personalities claimed to be immortalized on the municipality’s Walk of Fame.

Amancio, like Luis Suárez, Chacho and a good handful of jewels, is one more example, one of the best, of what the Coruña youth academy has produced throughout history. ‘El Brujo’ was a class player, although in his case he was more of a dribbler, incisive and goalscorer than the canon dictated. In decades a similar one has not appeared in the city, but he believes that part of that football idea, of that pattern, has survived in some players who have reared their heads at the Riazor in recent times. “There have always been quality footballers in A Coruña, that is undeniable. We can’t forget Fran.”


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