Saturday, February 25, 2012

José Antonio Camacho

José Antonio Camacho Alfaro (born 8 June 1955) is a retired Spanish footballer who played as a left defender, and the current coach of the China PR national football team.

He played for 15 professional years with Real Madrid, appearing in more than 500 official matches with the team and helping it to 19 major titles, including nine La Liga championships. Subsequently, he embarked in a lengthy manager career, which included two very brief spells with his main club.

Camacho gained more than 80 caps with Spain, representing it in two World Cups and as many European Championships. He also managed the national team during four years, taking it to the quarterfinals in the 2002 World Cup.

Playing Career
Camacho was born in Cieza, Murcia. After playing youth football at Albacete Balompié, he moved to La Liga giants Real Madrid at age 18, being almost immediately cast into the first team and its starting XI, his debut being handed by manager Luis Molowny.

During his spell with Real Madrid, Camacho played in nearly 600 official matches (414 in the league alone), forming a proficient left-wing partnership with Rafael Gordillo, who played mainly as a midfielder then. In January 1978, he suffered a serious injury in training, which put his career on hold for nearly two years, but returned strong, being instrumental as the capital side won consecutive UEFA Cups.

Camacho also played 81 games for the Spanish national team, his debut coming at not yet 20, on 5 February 1975 in Valencia, in a 1–1 draw against Scotland for the UEFA Euro 1976 qualifiers.

For the following 13 years, Camacho was a defensive mainstay for the national side, being selected – and always as first-choice – for the 1982 and 1986 FIFA World Cups, as well as Euro 1984 and 1988; after the 0–2 group stage loss against West Germany in the latter competition, he retired from the international scene, aged 33.

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