PEDRO DE FELIPE | 1944-2016

Pedro de Felipe, 'Ye-Ye' team defender, passes away

Real Madrid are mourning the passing of Pedro de Felipe, centre-back in the famous 1960s side who won the European Cup and five leagues with Los Blancos.

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Pedro Eugenio De Felipe Cortés (Madrid, 18 July 1944), who represented Real Madrid from 1964 to 1972, and Espanyol, from 1972 to 1978, passed away at 6:30 this morning in Madrid after losing his battle with cancer. He was a European champions with Real Madrid's famous 'Ye-Yé' side - lifting the trophy after the team beat Partizán 2-1 in the 1966 final; he was a key piece in Madrid's defence during Los Blancos' dominance throughout the decade. He was capped once by Spain, in the 0-0 friendly with Turkey in Istanbul on 17 October 1973.

De Felipe joined Real Madrid as a teenager, entering the club's youth categories. By the time he was 16, he had already caught the attention of coaching staff for his methodical approach and no-nonsense efficiency. Those in charge saw him as the ideal replacement for Santamaría, who was starting slow with age. He was farmed out on loan to Rayo Vallecano, returning in 1964. He made his Madrid debut in October, in the 3-0 home win over Oviedo. He would remain at the club until 1972.

He was given the nickname, 'El Chino', for his oriental-looking eyes de sus ojos; his extraordinary physical condition and bravery made him the perfect choice at centre-back. “You have come here to do what you know best. Keep it simple, and don't overcomplicate things”, coach Miguel Muñoz told him. And De Felipe did just that: the only time he was fined by the club was the one time he crossed the halfway line, moving out of position. De Felipe put in arguably his best performance in the European Cup semi-final against Inter Milan. He was magnificent in keeping [Joaquín ] Peiró at bay and gave a sensation of invulnerability which gradually wore out the Italians.

It was a meniscus injury which made him lose his place and importance within the side (Benito began carving a niche out in central defence); he also had a run-in with Bernabéu in the days leading up to the 1971 European Cup Winners' Cup final. He left Madrid to join Espanyol in 1972, and stayed in the Condal City until the 1977-78 season. After hanging up his boots, he took on the role of Technical Secretary at Espanyol - a role which he also performed later at Almería; during his later years, he held posts as a sprts merchandise representative and football agent. 

Those who knew Pedro De Felipe, family and former team mates bid farewell at the La Paz funeral parlour in Tres Cantos, Madrid today. He will be laid to rest in his birthplace, Horche, Guadalajara.