‘We marked an era’ – 60 years on from when Real won 7-3 at Hampden | Sid Lowe

Pepe Santamaría recalls how going 1-0 down to Frankfurt led to one of the greatest performances exactly 60 years ago

“The shirt must be there among my stuff somewhere, but what’s definitely there is the memory and that’s what makes me happiest,” says Pepe Santamaría. It was 60 years ago this Monday and he’s 90 now, but he can still see it clearly: all of them holed up in a hotel somewhere near the airport, sitting there virtually in silence, Santiago Bernabéu occasionally telling them to shush. And Bernabéu wasn’t a man you argued with. “There was orange juice and yellow biscuits and nothing else,” Santamaría recalls, still amused by the scene. “Nothing.”

And that was how Real Madrid celebrated arguably the greatest performance of all time, unfolding before 127,621 people but shared with just two security guards. Giants, Santamaría recalls. “They wouldn’t let us out, or go and have a drink or anything,” says the central defender they called The Wall. “Bernabéu wanted to ensure the team got back safe and sound.” When they did the following day, the full-back Marquitos disembarking the plane in full Highland dress, a fleet of white convertibles awaited them. In Puerta del Sol, the geographical heart of Spain, so did thousands of people. And there, Santamaría adds, “some were more prudent than others”.

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