MADRID: Real Madrid players wore black armbands in their 2-0 Liga win over Levante in tribute to former club goalkeeper Antonio Betancort at the age of 78.
Betancort joined Madrid from Las Palmas in his native Canary Islands in 1961 as apprentice to Jose Vicente and Argentina’s Rogelio Dominguez and kept goal for Real in 177 competitive games over the next decade.
Twice he was awarded the Zamora trophy for the league’s best goalkeeper. He was also a member of the squad who won the club’s sixth European Champions Cup in 1966. However Betancort missed the final victory over Partizan Belgrade after being injured in the semi-final defeat of Internazionale.
Early in his Madrid career Betancort spent a season on loan at Deportivo La Coruna in 1962-63. He played twice for Spain, including the 1-0 playoff victory over the Irish Republic against Ireland in Paris that put them through to the 1966 World Cup finals in England.
Betancort’s ill fortune was that his career coincided with that of the great Bilbao goalkeeper, Jose Iribar. He was in Spain’s squad at the 1966 World Cup finals but did not play.
With Real Madrid Betancort won six league titles and two Spanish cups before losing his place to the upcoming keepers Andres Junquera and Mariano Garcia Remon.
In 1971 he returned home to Las Palmas and retired in two years later, playing his match against Bilbao in San Mames.