This phlegmatic middle-aged man is well-known to all followers of Spanish football as the highly successful manager of the Spanish national team “La Roja”.
Del Bosque is renowned as a calm and approachable family man with typical Castilian reserve. He came from a humble household in Salamanca and was brought up during the years of hunger in Spain. His father was a railway worker who had been imprisoned during the civil war for his republican beliefs. Money was scarce and there certainly wasn’t enough to buy football boots.
Del Bosque starting his footballing career playing as a midfielder for Salamanca and became their maximum goal scorer at the age of 17. He went on to play for Real Madrid for 11 seasons. As he matured as a player he stood out for his organizational skills and game awareness.
He started his career as a trainer in 1987 with various clubs including Real Madrid, and became their manager in 1999, replacing John Toshack. This marked the commencement of Real Madrid’s “Galactic Era” with international superstars such as Zidane. The club went from strength to strength under Del Bosque’s leadership although in 2003 it was decided not to renew his contract, just one day after winning its 29th league title and a week after signing up David Beckham. The decision was met with incredulity in the footballing world which had grown to respect this unassuming man who had been able to control a team of ego-centric footballing stars.
In July 2008 he was appointed national trainer, replacing Luis Aragonés. Since then Spanish football has hardly looked back. He is the only trainer who has won the World Cup (2010) the Eurocup (2012) and the UEFA Champions League (2000 and 2002) with Real Madrid and with the Spanish National Team. In 2013 he was awarded the FIFA Ballon D’or as best trainer and in 2011 he was granted the title Marquis of Del Bosque by the king of Spain.
One of the most touching personal images of Del Bosque was captured during the World Cup celebrations in Madrid in 2010 when his Alvaro, who has Downs syndrome, raised the cup to cheering crowds. Del Bosque tells the anecdote about when he made the decision not to field Iker Casillas as goalkeeper during his period as Real Madrid manager. Arriving home after receiving widespread criticism he was also recriminated by his son Alvaro to which he replied – “Bloody hell, Alvaro, not you as well!”