World Cup Legends: Spain and Amancio

by Back Page Football

amancioAmancio Amaro Varela known simply as Amancio was born in A Coruña on the 16th October 1939 and would go on to be arguably one of the greatest players to emerge from Galicia, earning the nickname El Brujo [The Wizard] in the process for his ability on the right wing.

In 1954, at the age of 15, Amancio joined his hometown youth team – Victoria Club de Futbol in the district of Santa Lucia before moving to Deportivo de la Coruña during the 1958-9 season. Deportivo had recently been relegated to the second division and their financial situation depended on producing good youth players that could be sold to larger clubs. Amancio may have been one of the best. El Brujo would be part of the team to earn promotion in 1962 winning the Pichichi. During these years, Amancio’s reputation was spreading attracting scouts to the Riazor. Particular interest was being shown by Madrid president, Santiago Bernabéu who was kept up to date with the youngster’s process through his friendship with Emilio Rey, owner of “La Voz de Galicia” newspaper. In June 1962, Real came calling but the deal was in danger of stalling due to fee of over 10 million pesetas. It was only the insistence of Bernabéu “Amancio will play for Real Madrid. Sign Him!” that saw the transfer go through.

Amancio would become one of the “Ye-Ye” team. A young group of players nicknamed after the “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” chorus of “She Loves You”, when four of the players posed in Beatles wigs. The youth blended with veterans such as Gento, Di Stefano and Puskas would go onto to dominate Spanish football in the early 60’s.

In his first six seasons he would win six La Liga titles, another three would follow between 1972-76. Amancio would also win three Copa del Rey titles during his career. In European Cup there had been disappointment – losing the 1964 final to Inter in Vienna, the following year being knocked out by Benfica. In 1966 with the “Ye-Ye” core now the basis of the team, Amancio won his only European club medal when Real beat Partizan Belgrade 2-1 – El Brujo himself scoring Real’s equalizer in the 70th minute.

Amancio would play for Madrid until retiring in 1976. The Galician played 344 games for Los Blancos scoring 119 goals and picking up the Pichichi on two occasions.

Internationally, Amancio debuted for his country in 1962 against Romania and was an essential part of the team that won the 1964 European Nations Cup – defeating the Soviet Union 2-1 in the final. In all Amancio won 42 caps over a 12 year period scoring 11 goals.

Amancio had pace, balance and weaving dribbling ability that would have made many players respected. Arguably what made Amancio great was that he also had a goal scoring knack that would make many strikers envious. His goals perhaps resulted most from his ability to glide into the box and to his positional sense to be in the right place at the right time. El Brujo was a wizard indeed.

GREATEST SQUAD – STARTING XI [4-2-3-1]

IKER CASILLAS

JOAN SEGARRA        FERNANDO HIERRO                CARLOS PUYOL        JOSÉ CAMACHO

XAVI HERNÁNDEZ                        LUIS ‘LUISITO’ SUÁREZ

AMANCIO AMARO                          ANDRÉS INIESTA                   FRANCISCO GENTO

RAÚL

GREATEST SQUAD – RESERVES

GK: ANDONI ZUBIZARRETA
GK: JOSÉ IRIBAR
RB: MICHEL SALGADO
LB: RAFAEL GORDILLO
CB: SERGIO RAMOS
CB: ANTONIO MACEDA
CM: ‘PIRRI’ SÁNCHEZ
CM: PEP GUARDIOLA
CM: GAZIKA MENDIETA
CF: ALFREDO DI STÉFANO
ST: DAVID VILLA
ST: EMILIO BUTRAGUEÑO

Group A: Theophile Abega | Toto Carbajal | Josip Skoblar | Toninho

Alan Robins

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