REAL MADRID legend Gregorio 'Goyo' Benito has died aged 73.
The Spanish centre-back made 422 appearances over 13 trophy packed season with Los Blancos and the LaLiga giants announced the news on Thursday.
Benito came through the ranks at Real and played for the first team between 1968 and 1982 after a two year loan spell at Rayo Vallecano from 1966-68.
He represented Spain 22 times between 1971 and 1978 but never represented his country at a major tournament as they failed to qualify for any during his spell of international football.
A statement issued today read: "Real Madrid C. F., its president and board of directors express their deep regret at the passing of Goyo Benito, one of the great legends of our club's history.
"Real Madrid C. F. wishes to share its condolences and sends its affection to his wife, Paula, and children, Patricia and Rubén, all of his family and loved ones.
"These condolences are also offered on behalf of madridistas from all over the world.
"Goyo Benito was always a fine representative of our club's values. He played for Real Madrid for 13 seasons.
"During this period and including his spell as a part of the Real Madrid academy, he lifted six league titles and five Spanish Cups.
"He belonged to the generation of players that succeeded the Real Madrid yeyé team.
"He made 420 appearances for Real Madrid and was capped 22 times by Spain.
"Real Madrid supported Benito right throughout his battle against the illness that he suffered from for over more than a decade.
"The Real Madrid family is today in mourning as we remember one of the great defenders in our club's history."
Famous names from around the football world have also shared tributes to the great online.
Real goalkeeping icon Iker Casillas wrote: "We continue to receive sad news nationally and globally.
"Today also leaves us an incredible person and a madridista of heart and race.
"DE P Goyo Benito. My condolences to his family and friends."
And Sergio Ramos added a tribute of his own and tweeted: "Rest in peace Goyo Benito. You were a bench mark for Real Madrid.
"Strong hug to your family and friends."
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