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Quinta del Buitre

Unique and unforgettable

Noticia | 03/12/2008 | PHOTOGRAPHER: A. Diaz & L. Navas / Translation by M. J. O'Donnell

Twenty-five years have passed, but they still give out the same vibes they had when they were just kids. Currently in their 40's and much more experienced, Michel, Pardeza, Sanchis, Martin Vazquez and Butragueño preserve the youthful looks that instilled football stands with passion back in the 1980s. Looking back, with Real Madrid City's Academy behind them, 'La Quinta Del Buitre' -Butragueño's Five- talked to Hala Madrid about the glory days.

Friends, team-mates, football players... These men were stars in a changing society that broke with the past. Spanish football was dying for a change that the 'Quinta' provided. Wrath and drive turned into collective and technical football; 'beauty' and 'style' were the banners of a team that made Real Madrid history.

"Nobody who is changing history is aware of what he's doing," says Pardeza. "Yes, but we knew we were in a situation in which things could change because we all helped out," adds Michel. "We now know it did something," continues the legendary number '8'. "There is no room in our profession to savour the present; you realize what you've done and how much you've enjoyed yourself when you retire," says Martin Vazquez.

The 'Quinta' is still present in the minds of Madridistas. These players grew up in the Club's youth system and injected themselves with Madridismo in the search of their dreams. "I remember those years with fondness and excitement," says Butragueño, "An 18-year old regards football differently from the way he sees it as a professional." That slightly distorted image of football probably rendered them unaware of the importance of the Second Division Bernabeu match against Athletic Bilbao that attracted 80,000 fans... "That is still the only time so many people have come together to see a Second Division game. It was a wonderful era in which Madridismo was terribly excited about what was going on."

Di Stefano, father of the 'Quinta'
Amancio and Alfredo di Stefano, respective coaches of Castilla and Real Madrid back then, were the proud fathers of this unparallelled generation of footballers. "Miguel and I weren't very important in the first Castilla era," remembers Sanchis with a smile on his face, "Alfredo di Stefano rescued us and made us play together." "He showed very unusual courage for the time by believing in very young players," adds Emilio, "It was a high risk for him."

That's how this generation of players was created. "Real Madrid was then going through a turning point," says Pardeza, "The Club had lost many titles and things had to change. We were also very lucky because we arrived at the right time."

Sanchis and Martin Vazquez made their first team debut on 4 December 1983 in Murcia. Pardeza played his first 7 minutes with the first team on 31 December. Butragueño had his chance on 5 February 1984 against Cadiz and scored two goals. It took Michel nearly a year to make his debut, but when he did -2 September 1984-, 'La Quinta Del Buitre' was officially born.

They won every imaginable title except for the European Cup. "Titles don't really do justice to the importance the team had back in its day," highlights Pardeza. "Madridistas don't criticise us for not winning the European Cup, but rather feel sorry for the fact that we never actually made it," says Butragueño. "It may be wrong to say this, but we should have won the title in 1988 because we had an amazing run that year," adds Sanchis, who eventually won the European Cup twice years later.

These five men made up the perfect player thanks to the technique of Martin Vazquez, Pardeza's skill, Michel's excellent precision at passing with his right leg, the versatility and quality of Sanchís... But what about Butragueño? "They used to say the world stopped when he stopped..."

A unique generation of players and an "unbelievable" time. Five men with unique styles that were joined by destiny to thrill the world with their football.