Quique Sánchez Flores: The coach born to be half-artist and half-footballer

The man who has turned around Getafe CF’s season has also coached in Portugal, UAE, England, and China.

Quique Sánchez Flores was always destined to be in the limelight. When he was born in 1965, his mother Carmen and aunt Lola were singers and actresses; Lola Flores was one of the most important figures in the world of flamenco. His father Isidro, meanwhile, was a Real Madrid player and his godfather was the great Alfredo Di Stéfano. 

Looking back on that upbringing, with parents who socialised and rubbed shoulders with some of the most famous figures of Spanish culture and sport, Sánchez Flores has described his family as being half-artists and half-footballers. He embraced that in his career, following in his father’s footsteps to become a professional footballer and playing for Real Madrid, but always playing with an innate flair whenever he stepped out onto the pitch. 

Even now, as a coach, he stands out from the rest, bringing something different to the table. He has coached at the highest level, winning a UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup with Atlético de Madrid in 2010, but decided several years ago that he would rather pursue managerial projects he was passionate about, that were attractive in different ways and that were best for his family. 

Put simply, the coach who was born to be half-artist and half-footballer is not your typical coach.

Over 300 matches in Spain’s top tier

His father Isidro made 262 appearances in Spain’s top division for Real Betis, Real Madrid and Sabadell, but Sánchez Flores went on to surpass that tally during his own playing career. 

Sánchez Flores played at right-back, like his father did, and started his senior career at Valencia, picking Los Che because he believed he’d have a good chance of game time at Mestalla. He was right and Quique became a regular starter at the club during his time there between 1984 and 1994. He even stayed with Valencia through a relegation to the second division, when his godfather Di Stéfano was coach, helping them achieve a bounce-back promotion in 1986/87 by scoring nine goals for the team. 

Sánchez Flores finally left Valencia in 1994 and signed with his father’s team, Real Madrid. In his very first season at the Bernabéu, the right-back emulated his father by winning a league championship with Los Blancos, playing 30 league games that year for coach Jorge Valdano and alongside stars such as Paco Buyo, Michael Laudrup, Luis Enrique, and Raúl.

After two years at Real Madrid, one final season with Real Zaragoza followed in 1996/97 before the right-back hung up his boots after 304 matches at LaLiga Santander level, as well as 15 Spain caps.

Into the dugout

Sánchez Flores didn’t move into coaching immediately, but come the turn of the century he worked in Real Madrid’s academy before embarking on a head coaching career that has taken him to multiple continents. 

His first dugout was his current one: Getafe CF. The Azulones had just achieved a first ever promotion into LaLiga Santander in 2003/04, but coach Josu Uribe didn’t stay on. Getafe president Ángel Torres took a chance on Sánchez Flores and it paid off, as Getafe exceeded expectations to finish 13th

From there, the Spaniard moved to his former club Valencia and then Benfica, Atlético, Al-Ahli, Al-Ain, Getafe again, Watford, Espanyol, Shanghai Shenhua, Watford again and then back to Getafe.

An unbelievable impact at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez

As with all the decisions taken throughout his coaching career, Sánchez Flores decided to return to Getafe in October 2021 because of a very particular set of circumstances. He had enjoyed his previous stints at the club and he wanted to be in Spain with his children as they entered adulthood. 

While Sánchez Flores has changed up the tactics at Getafe, installing a compact 5-3-2 system, the biggest reason for the immediate success he has achieved at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez is the change in attitude he has brought with him. He works individually with each player to ensure Getafe approach every match with the right mentality… and it is working. 

When Sánchez Flores arrived at the club earlier this season, they had taken one point from their first eight matches, an average of just 0.125 per game. Since then, they have collected 24 points from 15 matches, or 1.6 per game, even ending Real Madrid’s 15-match winning run with a sensational 1-0 victory in early January.

This weekend he faces Atlético de Madrid, the club he led to two European trophies in 2010. He’ll be warmly received by the Atleti fans for that match on February 12th at the Wanda Metropolitano, a stadium used for both concerts and football. Quique Sánchez Flores will fit right in.

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