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DEP Antonio Mezquita

February 7, 2011

It’s a sad day for Real Madrid.  Yesterday morning, Antonio Mezquita passed away at the age of 75 from colon cancer.  He was a talent scout and coach for the cantera from 1982 to 1999, and among his discoveries were Iker Casillas, Esteban Granero, Miguel Torres, Rubén de la Red and Paco Pavón, and he also worked with Raúl and Guti.  In fact, when he was already very sick, Iker went to visit him in the hospital.  Mezquita was known for having the ability to identify and mold those footballers that he believed had something special.

As a signal of their pain and respect, the first team, Castilla and Real Madrid C all wore black armbands (Iker wore a white one) during their games yesterday.

Miguel Torres had this to say via twitter and it expresses my sentiments exactly:  “It’s a sad day.  We’ve lost one of the best persons I’ve known in the world of football and someone I owe a lot to… Antonio Mezquita – rest in peace and all of us who had the luck of listening to you and learning from you will never forget you.”

As a sort of tribute to Antonio Mezquita, I’ve also updated this post (the entire article is now translated) that details the relationship between Iker and Antonio.  It’s one of the best articles on Iker that I’ve ever read.  And if you have time, read this as well.  Mezquita’s the type of man I associate with the better times of the club, when it was all about casta y honor.

And here is also an interview AS did with Antonio Mezquita two years ago, which they republished today.

Q:  Real Madrid, with De la Red and Arbeloa, have now sent 56 players to the Spanish national team.  They wouldn’t have achieved this number without a talent scout like you…

A:  I never thought I would become a coach of Real Madrid (laughs).  My history in this club started in 1976 when I took a course on how to become a coach with Del Bosque, Grosso and Amancio.  One day, there was a spot available and they hired me for Castilla. 

Q:  You’ve worked with Del Bosque…

A:  Vicente knew the entire cantera by memory.  He managed to form a group in which everyone worked as one.

Q:  And the good results came because at that time you were all a family?

A:  It was a different time, and our goal was to do what was best for Madrid.  We didn’t fight over who discovered whom.  We made all the decisions together.

Q:  You must have thousands of anecdotes…

A:  I remember one situation with Del Bosque in his office.  I arrived after winning a tournament in Mallorca, and Vicente was there scolding Eto’o.  Samuel had arrived on a Wednesday when he was supposed to be back on Monday.  But we ended up eating the ensaimada I brought back together with Eto’o.  Vicente is a wonderful person and he got over his anger really fast, to the point that we shared the ensaimada with Eto’o.  Maybe it was a premonition, because he got tired of them later on with Mallorca…

Q:  Many players have passed through your hands.  What is the key to get to the elite?

A: I remember with special affection Casillas, Pavón, Miguel Torres and Granero.  They were very determined children.  But you also need a bit of luck.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Mani Thangadurai permalink
    February 7, 2011 13:49

    May he rest in peace…he’s certainly left a legacy in Madrid and Spain footballing circles!

  2. Whiskey permalink
    February 7, 2011 15:03

    Very sad news – he will be missed. I know you mentioned this in your ICYMI post for the game yesterday but why no minute of silence!!

  3. Sunny permalink
    February 7, 2011 16:09

    Rest in peace.

  4. Lily permalink
    February 9, 2011 17:00

    May he rest in peace- his legacy is so formidable, he’ll never be forgotten..

    I love the description of Iker, de la Red et al as ‘very determined children’, I can just imagine them as young boys playing exactly that way.

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