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Farewell, Fito

One of the most iconic players of the best CD Málaga in history, ‘Fito’ Vilanova passed away in his native Argentina yesterday at 71 years of age. Rest in Peace.

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06/11/2019 10:53

Rodolfo Vilanova Romano, a CD Málaga player from 1970 to 1978, was born in Rosario (Argentina) on 19th May 1948. He started his professional football career with Racing de Avellaneda, forming part of the team that won the Intercontinental Cup in 1967, and the following year he signed to Club Atlético Huracán.

On 10th August 1970 he moved to CD Málaga under the presidency of Antonio Rodríguez López. The team, recently promoted to the First Division, kicked off the best stage in the elite of Spanish football, with the so-called ‘Quinquenio de oro’.

Vilanova debuted on matchday 4 of the 1970/71 season in the CD Málaga 1-0 Elche CF (04/10/1970) match, under the orders of Kalmar, playing centre-back that day partnered with Martínez. Despite starting in defence, later he played in midfield, alongside iconic players within the Club such as Viberti, Migueli, Conejo and Benítez, amongst others.

In December 1972, he was pre-called-up by the Spanish national team, together with Malaguistas Deusto, Irles and Macías, although he never wore the national team jersey. In that season, 1972/73, he took part in the semi-finals of the then Copa del Generalísimo against Athletic Club, the highest Cup milestone for CD Málaga. In the 1975/76 campaign, he experienced CD Málaga’s promotion to the First Division, with José Ibáñez Narváez as president and Milorad Pavic as coach.

The 1977/78 season would be his last as a Malaguista. The CD Málaga 0-0 Real Valladolid match, played at La Rosaleda on 27th November 1977, was his last appearance with the Martiricos side. Despite being in the starting line-up in 11 out of 14 league games, personal reasons led to him returning to Argentina. Back in his country, he again played for Huracán and retired from professional football with Ferro Carril Oeste.

A protagonist of CD Málaga’s best league rankings in the First Division, ‘Fito’ Vilanova became a Malaguista legend. With 227 official matches (171 in the First Division, 27 in the Second Division and 29 Cup games, scoring 19 goals) under his belt, he was the only player not born in Spain who wore the CD Málaga shirt the most.

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