Profile: Rafael Gordillo

Real Betis Balompié in person

Rafael Gordillo is a myth. A legend. The most important footballer in Real Betis modern history. One of the main gods in the Green and White Olympus.

A key player, pride of the fans, has been most of his life linked to Real Betis Balompié. Not just as a player, as he has also been coach, judicial administrator and even president.

Rafael Gordillo Vázquez was born in Almendralejo (Badajoz, Spain) on the 24 of February of 1957. He being born in that town happened because his father was a footballer at Extremadura, but they soon moved back to Seville, where the family was from.

He settled with his family in San Pablo, a working-class neighbourhood in the city. Gordillo started at Real Betis Youth teams in 1972.

His official debut with the first team happened on the 30th of January of 1977 at Benito Villamarín Stadium against Burgos CF, Match 20 in LaLiga 1976-77. In the 63rd minute of said game, Rafael Gordillo comes on with number 14 on his back to replace another legend, Julio Cardeñosa.

That Betis was coached by Rafael Iriondo, and was walking steadily to conquer the Copa del Rey. From that day, Gordillo becomes undisputable in the starting eleven, but he could not play in Copa del Rey because he had played earlier that season in the same competition with Betis Deportivo, the second team.

In that first spell, he defended the Green and White shirt from 1977 until 1985, year when he was transferred to Real Madrid, where he stayed until 1992.

That year, he returned to Real Betis for a second spell that longed until 1995 and that ended with a testimonial game between Real Betis and Real Madrid.

In the 12 seasons Gordillo was a Green and White, he played 412 official games in five competitions (343 league, 57 Copa del Rey; 5 Cup Winners Cup, 4 UEFA; and 3 league cup) and scored 38 goals.

With the national team, Rafael Gordillo played 75 international games (59 of them while being Real Betis player), participated in two World Cups (Spain 82 and Mexico 86) and three Euros (Italy 80, France 84 and Germany 88).

He was a left back with great potential both in defence and attack. His runs on the left with his low socks are and image engraved forever in the memory of Real Betis fans.

At a personal level, Rafael Gordillo was one of the few footballers who always seemed to be it so. A humble kid that treated everyone all the same, who spoke with artificial sentences, who didn't want to make the headlines but the plays.

A generous, down-to-earth, humble guy who received the praise of all the players he played with or against, whether at Real Betis, Real Madrid or the Spanish national team.

He retired from active football at Écija CF in Second Division in the season 1995-96.

In 200, he became part of the scouting staff at Real Betis.

He left the Club two years later but returned in 2010 as one of the three judicial administrators appointed by a judge.

On the 13th of December of 2010, Rafael Gordillo was elected Real Betis president. He acted as such until the 29th of June of 2011.

Currently, he is the RBB Foundation president and Real Betis ambassador.