Profile: Julio Cardeñosa

Class, technique and leadership

Julio Cardeñosa Rodríguez is, without any kind of doubt, one of the five greatest players in Real Betis Balompié history. Until Joaquín retires, this level is shared only by Luis del Sol, Rogelio Sosa, José Ramón Esnaola, Julio Cardeñosa and Rafael Gordillo. In this episode, we focus on Cardeñosa, a key man due to his leadership and greatness; a man who still lives in the heart of the Béticos. A god in the Green and White Olympus.

Small in size but fearsome as a footballer, he is one of the biggest talents ever seen at Heliópolis. Left-footed and brilliant, essential in the team, he was the brain that conducted the squad in the memorable final of 1977 that meant the first Copa del Rey for Real Betis. Captain for many seasons, undisputable leader in the dressing room, he defended the Spanish national shirt in the 1978 World Cup and the 1980 Euros and, after his retirement, was part of the team staff and later head coach.

He was born in Valladolid in 1949 and took his first football steps in his home town.

In summer of 1974, he signed for Real Betis for the amount of 12 million Pesetas. He stayed in Heliópolis for 11 seasons in which he played 412 official games (338 league; 56 Copa del Rey; 6 Cup Winners Cup; 4 UEFA Cup; and 8 league cup).

He scored 58 goals and became the biggest idol for a whole generation of fans who always adored his astonishing vision, his ability to conduct the team and his huge professionalism every time he wore the Green and White shirt.

His official debut occurred on the 7th of September of 1974 at Las Palmas. However, he had previously played as a Betis player in Rogelio Sosa's testimonial game.

He made his debut with the national team on the 30th of November of 1977 in the legendary game Yugoslavia-Spain played in Belgrade that ended with a Spanish victory (0-1). It was precisely a cross from Cardeñosa and headed in by Rubén Cano that sealed the passport of the national team to the 1978 World Cup.

Once he retired, he worked at the Club as sporting director and Youth Teams director. Finally, in the season 1989-90, he took the job as first team head coach, achieving the promotion to First Division.