Manuel Benitez, 'El Cordobes', Spain's top bull fighter of a decade ago, returned to the bullring in Seville, south west Spain on Saturday (4 March) for his first fight since 1971.
Manuel Benitez, 'El Cordobes', Spain's top bull fighter of a decade ago, returned to the bullring in Seville, south west Spain on Saturday (4 March) for his first fight since 1971. It was a triumphant return by the 41-year-old millionaire matador, who had agreed to a solitary appearance for Charity, but, at times, age appeared to have caught up with him.
SYNOPSIS: Seville's Maestranza bullring was the venue.
During the two-and-a-half hour corrida, El Cordobes fought three bulls, and, as always, he managed to delight the crowd, as well as infuriate bullfighting traditionalists.
The instincts were still there, the lingering reflexes of an 11-year career in which he killed more than 2,500 bulls.
This was they day that all of Spain's bullfighting fraternity, except the purists, had been waiting for. Since his retirement, experts agree that bullfighting has been much more sober. They called him the Beatle of the bullring because of his unruly hair and the adulation he received. El Cordobes did the unorthodox, and age had not mellowed him. He took risks and the fans loved it.
With El Cordobes, there is always a sense of drama, and, on Saturday, although he was without the glamour of a suit of lights, all the old arrogance and bravado were there.
For his performances he was awarded three ears, and rumours were quick to surface that he has been offered a fortune to make a full comeback.
His kills excited the crowd, and, at the end, he was carried from the ring in triumph. But, at 41, have the reflexes slowed up? As he found, to his peril, bulls, unlike people, have no respect for age. The tossing, too, was a reminder of old times for this reckless character.