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Former Real Madrid hero, Zarraga, dies aged 81

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Madrid: Former Real Madrid captain Jose Maria Zarraga died late Tuesday at the age of 81, the football club said.

Zarraga, who was born in 1930 in the Basque country, began his career with Las Arenas Getxo, before signing for Real Madrid in 1949. After spending two years in Madrid's B team, he was promoted to the first team squad.

He spent 13 years at the club, making 306 appearances, scoring 96 goals and forming part of the group of players that helped Real Madrid win five successive European Cups between 1956 and 1960, Xinhua reported.

Zarraga also made eight appearances for the Spanish national team.

Real Madrid observed a minute's silence and the team wore black armbands as a mark of respect in Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg against APOEL Nicosia at the Santiago Bernabeu.

IANS

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