• Steered Spain to glory at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and then oversaw success at UEFA EURO 2012.
• UEFA club coach of the year in 2002, he was named FIFA world coach of the year for 2012.
The expert testimony
“He put us in seventh heaven on 12 July 2010. He has been as calm during the tough times as he has in the moments of glory; he has helped the players and the fans. Respect and a natural approach is how he behaves day to day.”
Iker Casillas, Spain goalkeeper
“We love him. The group atmosphere with him around is magnificent. He’s a straightforward person and makes everything so straightforward. Vicente is the most human character I’ve ever come across in a dressing room.”
Xavi Hernández, former Spain midfielder
“Who best understood me as a coach? Vicente del Bosque, because he was very simple. All the players liked him a lot because he did things the way they had to be done, without creating many problems. And his talks were three or four minutes. I imagine that in the national team they are very happy with him. The time of dictators has been over for years. Coaches have to earn trust and be more of a leader.”
Ronaldo, former Real Madrid forward
“There should be statues of Del Bosque in every Spanish city given what he has achieved for that country, but most of all in Madrid.”
Steve McManaman, former Real Madrid midfielder
The back story
The cultured midfielder emerged at home-town club Salmantino in Salamanca before joining Real Madrid. After making his debut in 1973/74, he amassed 339 appearances for Madrid over 11 seasons, winning five Liga and four Copa del Rey titles, also representing Spain 18 times. He stayed on to coach his way through the Madrid ranks, having two spells as caretaker boss before being appointed head coach in November 1999.
His Madrid side and his Spain teams featured some of the world’s most high-profile players, but with his gentle man-management skills he turned both into formidable outfits. Succeeding Luis Aragonés in the Spain dug-out in 2008, he maintained the ‘tiki-taka’ approach yet also introduced the ‘false nine’ for UEFA EURO 2012, when his squad lacked an in-form striker.
The take-home quotes
“Leadership must be likeable, affable, cordial, and above all emotional. The fashion of authoritarian leadership is gone. Football is about life. You can’t be angry all day.”
“However much you professionalise football, however much money is involved, the important thing is to defend the nobility of football.”
“You have to keep the potential that exists and forge ahead, without erasing the fingerprints of the past.”
“Only a big head thinks he knows it all. One of the most difficult things is to accept when you’ve got things wrong. I am a firm believer in the culture of dialogue.”
“The coach has to understand that human relations have to be above the sport, above the competition.”