At the tribute paid by the AFE (Association of Spanish Footbalelrs) to its former president Angel Maria Villar, FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who had high praise for Real Madrid, was in attendance, along with current AFE president David Aganzo.
Also present were Enrique Cerezo, Emilio Butragueno, Angel Torres, Fernando Hierro, Vicente del Bosque, Javier Clemente, Jose Antonio Camacho, Emilio Garcia Silvero, Larrea, Miguel Torres and many of the directors from Villar’s time as president of the Federation.
The FIFA president, who was also present at the union’s assembly, was one of those who spoke at the tribute to the former president of Spanish football. He highlighted the figure of Villar and the importance he had in the world of football.
In his speech, Infantino also wanted to highlight the achievements of Real Madrid, who he described as “the best team in the world. I only hope that one year they let other teams win something,” he said with a laugh.
Villar spoke about the Champions League final at which he was present.
“I was happy. I was just another fan. I suffered,” said Villar.
“The players and the coach were wonderful. It’s not easy to win a match like that, but finals are won and played, I enjoyed it a lot.
“Real Madrid are the best.”
On the tribute and Luis Rubiales, he commented: “I am very happy. I was a great unionist. Rubiales? Let’s talk about happy things like Real Madrid. I didn’t see the incidents, but anyone who works can make mistakes”.
Gianni Infantino with David Aganzo at the AFE’s tribute to Villar, one of its founders.
Historic founder of the union, elite player for years, the Spanish Footballers’ Association has paid an emotional tribute to Angel Maria Villar to recognise his figure as a sportsman, but also as a defender of the footballers’ collective. He was one of the courageous players who led the historic first strike in Spanish football in 1979.
David Aganzo, as president of AFE, was the host of this tribute, which was attended by important ex-footballers and people close to Angel Maria Villar. Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA, was also in attendance and wanted to accompany the ex-footballer on such a special day for him. This intimate event, held in Madrid, was presented by sports journalist Roberto Gmez.
AFE was also represented by Diego Rivas (general secretary), Javier Lpez Mora-Gil (board member), Ruth Acedo (board member), Juanma Marrero (board member), Adrin Gonzlez (board member), Jos Verd ‘Toch’ (board member), Jos Antonio Camacho (board member), Fernando Zambrano (head of the Veteran Service Department) and Manuel Tello (deputy director).
Representatives of institutions and former footballers who shared many moments with ngel Mara Villar were also present. It is worth highlighting, among others, the attendance of Vicente del Bosque, Iker Casillas, Javier Clemente, Fernando Hierro, Alejandro Blanco, Adelardo Rodrguez, Juan Manuel Asensi, Javier Irureta, Julio Alberto, Vicente Miera, Emilio Butragueo, Ramn Caldern, ngel Torres, Gines Melndez, Andoni Goikoetxea, Miguel Torres, Miguel Reina, Eugenio Leal, Enrique Cerezo, Diego Tristn, Pedro Jaro, Diego Rodrguez, Jos Luis Snchez Barrios, Manolo Gallego, Clemente Villaverde, Javier Arizmendi, Patxi Bolaos, Jose Mara Movilla, Javier Gmez Navarro, Jorge Fernndez, Jos Silvano, Antonio Escribano, Vicente Temprado, Juan Luis Larrea, Javier Lozano, Teodoro Nieto, Matilde Garca Duarte, Pedro Guilln, Jorge Vaquero, Mara Jos Claramunt, Manuel Vizcano, Jos Venancio, Carlo Cutropa, Dora de Pedro, Antonio Bustillo, Mariano Moreno, Eduard Dervishaj, Daniel Celemin, ngel Martn, Gorka Villar, Jos Gallardo, Elas Benito, Luis Arniz, Luis Cano, Vicente Muoz, Laurentzi Gana, Javier Palacios and Roco Fernndez.
“Angel was a warrior on the pitch, but even more so off it, fighting for the footballers’ collective when they had no rights, when they were subjected to the implacable dictatorship of the clubs at the time,” said David Aganzo.
“He left blood, sweat and tears on the pitch, but outside he behaved with the same courage, bravery and determination.”
Villar also spoke, thanking the current president in his acceptance speech.
“I receive this tribute from AFE with joy and gratitude. I thank David Aganzo and his board of directors for recognising the people who founded the association. And I receive it next to my own, people I will always carry in my heart”, emphasised ngel Mara Villar, who sincerely thanked Gianni Infantino, “the highest representation of football at world level”, for his presence.
“When we started, AFE was just an idea”, said Villar, who recalled that “we had many meetings, we travelled a lot…. We received a lot of criticism because they thought it was a rich people’s union”. And he highlighted the fact that “it was the elite footballers who took the lead”.
For his part, Gianni Infantino described this tribute to a great person as “fantastic and well-deserved.”
“We have to thank him for everything he did for world football. It is an honour and a pleasure to be part of this tribute to a loyal and honest person from whom we have learned a lot. I congratulate the AFE for this initiative because football belongs to the footballers,” said Infantino.
Vicente del Bosque, Iker Casillas and Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo were among the others who paid heartfelt tributes to this influential figure in the Spanish game.