Aragonés spent the majority of his career as a player and coach at Atlético Madrid. He was a prominent player and then coach of the successful Atlético team of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The team were national champions four times, reached the 1974 European Cup Final. Between 1964 and 1974, he played 265 Primera Liga games for Atlético and scored 123 goals. He also played for several other clubs, including Real Madrid, and played 11 times for Spain, scoring three goals.
Apart from Atlético he also coached seven other La Liga clubs as well as the Spain national team, whom he led to their second European Championship title in 2008. He then became the head coach of the Turkish club Fenerbahçe after the tournament, the only time he coached outside his native Spain. He died on 1 February 2014 aged 75.
Aragonés began his playing career with CD Getafe in 1957. In 1958, he signed for Real Madrid but never made it into the senior team. He spent most of his time at Real Madrid on loan to other clubs, including Recreativo de Huelva and Hércules and playing for AD Plus Ultra, the Real Madrid reserve team. In 1960, he joined Real Oviedo and made his debut in the Primera División. Between 1961 and 1964, he played for Real Betis, making 86 league appearances and scoring 33 goals.
In 1964, Aragonés was signed by Atlético Madrid where he acquired the nickname “Zapatones“, meaning “big boots”, since he was known as a free kick specialist. Aragonés picked up silverware in his first season at the club, winning the Copa del Rey (then known as the Copa del Generalísimo). He then helped Atlético to the La Liga title in 1965–66 and again in 1969–70, where he shared the Pichichi trophy for the highest scorer in the league with his fellow Atlético forward José Eulogio Gárate and Real Madrid’s Amancio. A second Copa followed in 1973 and the team achieved a third league title in 1973–74. The following year, Atlético reached the final of the European Cup played against German champions Bayern Munich. During the match, Aragonés scored a goal late in extra time to give Atlético a 1–0 lead. A 119th-minute equaliser from Georg Schwarzenbeck, however, sent the final to a replay, where Bayern prevailed with a convincing 4–0 victory. His retirement followed soon after and he was appointed Atlético coach for the first time in the same year. To date, Aragonés remains Atlético’s all-time top goalscorer and is ninth in the club’s all-time appearance list.