Luis Aragones, who recently passed away at the age of 75, has been awarded the Gold Medal of the city of Madrid.
As reported by AS, the Spanish legend has received the posthumous honour in recognition of his sporting achievements:
The Gold Medal is bestowed upon Madrid's most important figures, contributors and greatest success stories. Last year, Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas received the prestigious prize after racking up over two decades of service to Los Blancos, per the club's official website.
"Anyone who receives this prize knows it is for something good one has done both personally and collectively," said the Spanish goalkeeper after receiving the prize; analysis that certainly extends to Aragones.
The former Atletico Madrid player and manager's career was not only defined by major success, his tactical input changed football forever.
He spent 25 years as a player and manager with Atletico, winning the La Liga title four times in total, but his greatest success was given to Spain as a whole.
Taking over the struggling national team in 2004, Aragones could have been forgiven for labouring throughout his reign. Many would have stuck with the likes of Raul, Juan Carlos Valeron and Michel Salgado, players who continued to underperform on the big stage.
Instead, Aragones ushered in new a new generation. David Villa was brought into the team, Xavi and Andres Iniesta replaced a previously labouring midfield, and Spain began to focus on tiki-taka football.
The country captured their first major tournament under Aragones' leadership four years later with victory at Euro 2008.
The coach's emphasis on ball retention, rapid closing down and positional interchanges had a lasting effect, as noted by Gullem Balague, Bleacher Report UK guest columnist and Sky Sports' resident Spanish football expert:
It was the season after their Euro 2008 win that Pep Guardiola took over Barcelona's first team and it's obvious that Barca won a lot with Pep's style, based on possession and quality of players, but it was Aragones who had first installed this kind of thinking into them through the national team.
Aragones' death was met with Atletico capturing La Liga's top spot for the first time since 1996, reported by Telegraph Sport.
Diego Simeone's side may have suffered a 3-0 thrashing in their recent Copa Del Rey semifinal first-leg tie with their Real neighbours, but Aragones' legacy lives on at the Vicente Calderon.
Atletico remain three points clear of their local rivals and Barcelona in the domestic division, suggesting Aragones' passing could be used as inspiration for the Rojiblancos to win their first championship since the 1995-96 season.
While the legend's Gold Medal is a heartfelt symbol of appreciation from Madrid, you can bet Atletico's players will strive to ensure Aragones' memory is celebrated with the Spanish title.
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