Donato: "Aragonés would go berserk then act as if nothing had happened"
Donato looked back over his career on Youtube channel 'Ídolos'. The Brazilian recalled Luis Aragonés' fiery character: "He was the best coach I've ever had"
At 57, Donato is still fondly remembered - 17 years after retiring from the game following successful spells at Atlético Madrid (1988-93), Deportivo (1993-2003) and the Spanish national team. During his career, he has accumulated a wealth of fascinating anecdotes about some of the most important figures in Spanish football - Luis Aragonés, Djukic, Djalminha, Jesús Gil...
Deportivo's dire situation: "We could never have imagined that Depor would suffer such a big fall. We have to do something to get the club back among the elite".
Joining Jesús Gil's Atlético: "Jesús Gil always told me that letting me go to join Deportivo was the worst business move he'd ever made. Even his own mother gave him a piece of her mind about it. When Cerezo phoned to tell me that I'd been sold, the first thing I did was ask whether Miguel Ángel Gil Marín knew about it because he always said that the club would never let me leave while he was there. It turned out that he was on his honeymoon..."
Luis Aragonés' temper: "He was the best coach I've ever had. He would transmit security and would defend his players to the hilt. I learned a lot from him. Both as a coach and as a person, he was a great friend. Once, we were playing a pre-season friendly and I missed a penalty. We were awarded another penalty later in the game but I didn't want to take it. After the game he went berserk at me. 'You should have taken that penalty! You!," he barked. "The only person who misses a penalty is the priest from my village because he has never taken one!"
Aragonés' character: "One day we lost a match and he went mental. He told us we were nothing, that we were worthless. I pulled him up about it, and told him that wasn't the case. Before, we were brilliant and now all of a sudden we were worthless... I had a go back at him and the rest of the team watched in silence. He listened to me and said nothing. I was a bit worried that I had argued with him in front of all of the team and later went to see him to apologise. That made him even more mad: 'You don't have to say sorry! you said what you needed to say! I like people who say things to your face'. I had 20 coaches during my career and never came across anyone like him. That character that he had. He'd scream at players: 'I'm going to grab you by the throat, I'll knock the living shit out you'. Then the next moment it was all forgotten about and everything was fine".
Simeone or Luis Aragonés? "With Luis Aragonés we won the Copa del Rey twice, but I think Simeone is doing a brilliant job. I played against him. We would fight each other out on the pitch, we'd have our own particular scraps and tussles out there".
The day Simeone called Rivaldo 'a black bastard': "Simeone would kick you and could be quite nasty. He'd stamp on you, pull your hair... If you were not alert, he'd smack you one. He was giving me a hard time and I just waited for my moment when I could get him back... whack! It was always like that between us. Once, we were playing Atlético away and when we came out to warm up, I overheard him say to Rivaldo: "Black bastard, I'm going to break your legs!" - before the game had even kicked off... But those things always stayed out on the pitch. He had respect for me and great fondness - just as I have for him".
Run-ins with Pablo Alfaro: "Off the pitch, Pablo Alfaro was a gentleman, a really likeable guy - very polite, such a nice guy but on the pitch he was an absolute animal. He was a very hard defender, he didn't let anyone escape. I remember one game against Sevilla, I jumped to clear a high ball and someone clattered into my back... I didn't get to see who it was, but I thought that's either Pablo Alfaro or Javi Navarro. Afterwards, I told Alfaro I was going to kill him and he said it wasn't him, it was Javi Navarro".
Arsenio Iglesias and Djukic's infamous penalty miss: "Even today, no one can understand why I was taken off. I had a bad time about that. I was one of the few who didn't go to the dinner. I tried to motivate the lads, I drove past Cuatro Caminos Square and it was full of people - as though we had won the league. To be honest, I just felt like crashing the car and disappearing".
When Djalminha headbutted Depor coach Javier Irureta: "I don't agree with what Djalminha did, but neither did I agree with Irureta's attitude. You need to be able to control your temper and remain calm and Irureta was a coach who would face up to players. He did not know how to handle an argument. He would get nervous and have a go at the player. Djalminha's attitude was bad but when a coach, your boss, tells you where to go... what are you supposed to do?".